(Stephen Jones photo courtesy of James D. Smith and the Dallas Cowboys)
(Brett Favre photo courtesy of the Green Bay Packers)
Talk of Fame Network
Year No. 2 for the Talk of Fame Network kicks off this week with Stephen Jones, the chief operating officer and vice president of player personnel of the Dallas Cowboys, visiting your Hall of Fame guys. Hosts Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge are back for the show, but Ron Borges was an excused absence as he was making his way back from Scotland and the British Open.
In addition, Gosselin and Judge conducted Part II of the Brett Favre interview on the heels of his enshrinement into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame this month. Favre talked about patching his the relationship with the only team he ever quarterbacked to a Super Bowl.
The Cowboys are always in the news, and Jones spoke on a variety of topics: The Dez Bryant contract, the Bryant catch/no catch in the Green Bay playoff game, the upcoming induction of Charles Haley into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the signing of free-agent pass rusher Greg Hardy and the departure of NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jones serves on the NFL competition committee so he knew there would be anxious moments over the Bryant catch/no catch when the play went to replay review in Green Bay at the NFC semifinal game last January.
“Politically and personally, it was a catch in my eyes,” Jones said. “That’s what I think it really was. Unfortunately, by the letter of the law and the NFL rule book, it’s not. It was a difficult thing to get your hands around. But I must say even at the game when I saw the replay I had quite a bit of concern because I had seen the Calvin Johnson catch ad nauseam serving on the committee. I was very concerned that it might get reversed.”
Another call that can’t be reversed was the decision by his Cowboys to let Murray leave in free agency. He became the first incumbent rushing champion to leave his team for another in more than a half century when Murray bolted to NFC East rival the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency.
“It’s difficult to let a good player walk out the door,” Jones said. “That hasn’t happened very often here in Dallas. We’ve always pushed to make it happen. But at the same time we put a lot of work and effort into seeing where we can be better in terms of the cap and out management of the cap. Unfortunately for DeMarco, he played a position that, unless you’re Emmitt Smith, it’s difficult to play deep into your career.
“He made a huge difference in the success of our football team. But at the same time we had to make a tough decision because of the position he played. We feel we have a strong offensive line and we do feel we have options at running back. We felt it was time to make that call.
“You never like losing one of your better players to a division rival, especially the Philadelphia Eagles. They’re getting a really good football player — one we’ll have to see year-in and year-out, twice a year for several years. It’s going to play out right before our eyes. But we’re very confident and still feel real good about the decision we made. But at the same time we have nothing but great respect for the great football player and the great season DeMarco had last year.”
Long-time Hall-of-Fame voter Bob Gretz of Kansas City also visited the show to discuss the upcoming induction of former Chiefs’ guard Will Shields into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Gosselin stated the Hall of Fame case for former Miami Dolphins safety Dick Anderson. Your Hall of Fame guys also talked about the passing and potential Hall-of-Fame senior candidacy of Ken Stabler and the possibility of assistant coaches one day having a path to Canton.
Gosselin also recommended that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers temper their optimism with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, and the guys again finished up each hour of the show with the always entertaining two-minute drill.
All that and much more on this week’s Talk of Fame Network show can be heard on your local Yahoo! Radio affiliate. If you miss it there, you can also find our podcast on iTunes or by going to talkoffamenetwork.com and just clicking the icon.