ARLINGTON (AP) — For the first time since moving into Cowboys Stadium, the team's Ring of Honor is getting some new members.
And, befitting the enormous building, the class is a big one: 1970s receiving star Drew Pearson, plus Charles Haley and Larry Allen, dominating linemen who helped power the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles in the 1990s.
"All of these guys were a part of some of the greatest moments in franchise history, and were very impactful for us to have those moments," said team owner Jerry Jones, the sole judge and jury for the Ring.
The names will be added Nov. 6, when the Cowboys play the Seattle Seahawks. They'll be the first additions since Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin went in together in 2005, and will swell the membership to 20 — 18 players, plus coach Tom Landry and Tex Schramm, the longtime club president who started the Ring in the early 1970s.
Pearson was an undrafted quarterback from Tulsa who made the team in 1973, and went on to be selected to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1970s. He's perhaps best known as the guy who caught the original "Hail Mary," in a 1975 playoff game against Minnesota, and as Roger Staubach's favorite target.
"Roger Staubach recently told me ... 'What Michael Irvin was for Troy, well that's what Drew Pearson was for me,'" Jones said. "That was good enough for me right there."
Pearson's omission from the Ring has long been considered its biggest oversight. Schramm passed over him in the late 1980s and Jones did the same since he took over as sole judge and jury when he bought the team in 1989.
Heavy lobbying by Staubach finally persuaded Jones. Pearson said it was the worth the wait.
"This is a good time for me because now my kids are grown enough to really appreciate this, understand what it really means, and then my grandkids are old enough now to understand what it means and appreciate it," Pearson said.
Jones gave Pearson the choice of which side of the stadium his name would hang. The choice was easy — the side behind the Cowboys' bench that already features Schramm, Staubach, Tom Landry and other players from the pre-Jones era.
There's no question Haley and Allen will go on the side facing the Cowboys' bench, the one that so far features only Aikman, Smith and Irvin.
Haley's arrival in a trade from San Francisco in 1992 is widely considered the tipping point in putting the Cowboys over the top. He'd already won two Super Bowls with the 49ers, and his winning attitude, plus a nasty demeanor at defensive end, helped Dallas win the Super Bowl that season, then again following the '93 and '95 seasons.
"I don't want to say that Charles Haley came in and taught that group how to win, but he certainly had a real positive influence in that direction," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, who was part of those teams. "I can remember during that Super Bowl, against Buffalo at the Rose Bowl, it didn't go great right in the beginning of the game. One of my recollections being on the sidelines is Charles coming over and, in his own way, just kind of settling everyone down. Obviously everybody did settle down and it turned out to be a great day."
Haley is the first player who started his career with another team to make the Ring. His success with the 49ers seems to go contrary to Jones' notion that Ring members should be purely identified as a member of the Cowboys.
"I know where his heart is," Jones said. "I know where he had the most Super Bowl rings. His base is here, and so he is a Cowboy. I know that. That is important to me as well."
Jones noted that he hopes this honor will help Haley earn a sixth ring, the one given to members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a finalist for induction earlier this year.
Allen is up for induction in 2013 and is a pretty sure bet. He's among the few players in NFL history to be named to the All-Decade team in two decades, making it for the 1990s and 2000s.
"I would stand there with Barry Switzer and Barry would look out there and say, 'The best football player on the entire field is Larry,'" Jones said.
Jones wouldn't say whether Pearson was the last of the Landry-era players likely to be elected. Nor would he speculate on when the Ring would be expanded again or other candidates.
"We have a storied franchise and we have a lot of people you'd say they deserve to be there," Jones said. "But to make it special and to keep it special, I'm going to go back to Tex again. He said, 'Make it very exclusive, make it very exclusive.'"
Is there room for Jerry Jones?
"Well, I've asked for the vote in the mirror," he said, laughing. "I can't get the vote. He won't agree. He knows too much."
Cowboys, Chargers continue prepping together
ARLINGTON (AP) — On their second straight day of practicing together, the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers remained on their best behavior.
No one on either team tried to gain the attention of his coaches and teammates by taking swings at someone in a different colored jersey. Silly as it may seem, it was among the things that jumped out to Cowboys coach Jason Garrett following Friday's workout at Cowboys Stadium.
"We've all seen these practices when you work against another team turn into a fight-fest, and everyone's scratching and clawing after the play, not really handling it well," Garrett said. "I thought each of the teams was well-schooled and understood what we were trying to get out of it. We practiced hard, with good intensity. It was competitive but it didn't cross that line where it becomes unproductive."
The teams went through a typical practice Thursday morning outdoors at Cowboys headquarters. Dealing with temperatures that rose to the high 90s was among the goals for both teams.
On Friday, the challenge was how to handle situational drills. The scoreboard was used to show down, distance, score and time. Backs and receivers weren't fully tackled, as both teams saved the hard stuff for when they meet yet again in a preseason game on Sunday night.
"You can't beat this work, particularly getting to see different players, different defenses, different offenses," San Diego coach Norv Turner said. "The two days, I think, have really helped both teams. ... We came here with the mindset of getting better, and I think we got better. It's great exposure for all our players."
They also had quite an audience: about 50 Cowboys alumni, including Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman and the three newest members of the club's Ring of Honor — Drew Pearson, Charles Haley and Larry Allen. Team owner Jerry Jones announced their selection at a news conference before practice. Their names will go up Nov. 6 against Seattle.
The alumni gathering was urged by Garrett, the first alum to become Cowboys coach.
"To be able to (practice) in front of these guys, that's fun for me," Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo said. "You want to impress them and do things they'll like. It was a great environment."
Surgery for Giants DE Umenyiora
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Osi Umenyiora isn't going to be practicing with the New York Giants for a while, and this time it has nothing to do with his contract.
Umenyiora had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday and likely will miss the season opener on Sept. 11.
The surgery to clean out the knee came just four days after the disgruntled Umenyiora joined teammates at practice for the first time since training camp opened late last month.
"It was better to do it now as opposed to midseason," Umenyiora said in a statement. "It was going to have to be done, the only question was when. If I'm going to miss a little while, I would prefer it be now than at the crucial part of our season. It's the best decision for the team and myself."
Umenyiora has been a headline all summer, as he did not report to training camp with the team following the lockout because he was unhappy with his contract. He alleged that general manager Jerry Reese had promised to re-work the final two years of a contract that was to pay him $7.1 million through 2012.
The 29-year-old told The AP on Sunday that he would start practicing on Monday, working this season under the terms of his current deal.
Umenyiora's knee became an issue early in training camp, when the team announced one day that the nine-year veteran wasn't practicing because he said his knee was bothering him.
It led to speculation that the knee had become a bargaining chip.
However, the team cleared him to start practicing last week and Umenyiora went to Atlanta to get a second opinion on the knee and was told he could practice.
After three practices — the team was off Thursday — the knee needed repair.
"It is a simple debridement," Ronnie Barnes, the team's vice president of medical services, said, adding that team physician Dr. Russell Warren performed the operation at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
Coach Tom Coughlin said Umenyiora did nothing in practice to hurt the knee, adding the Giants medical staff knew months ago that surgery on his knee was a possibility.
"He didn't do anything that would cause this to happen, other than it did swell," Coughlin said.
The coach added there is a chance Umenyiora might be ready for the opener at Washington, but that would require a fast recovery.
Reese said that Umenyiora told him on Thursday that he wanted to have the surgery.
"He told me how much he really enjoyed being back on the field this week, and he's looking forward to getting back out there once he recovers from the procedure," Reese said.
Umenyiora shared the team lead with 11½ sacks last season and led the NFL with 10 forced fumbles.
In an email to The AP on Sunday, Umenyiora said the Giants offered to put incentives in his contract. But he rejected them as "unacceptable" and said it showed "they don't really respect the fact I sacrifice my health for the franchise."
-- Tom Canavan
Giants Notebook: Seubert not giving up hope of playing again
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Former New York Giants offensive lineman Rich Seubert still wants to play football.
The popular 10-year veteran who was released by the Giants shortly after the players and owners reached a new collective bargaining agreement, visited training camp on Friday to receiver a fan award.
Seubert, who suffered a dislocated kneecap and torn patella tendon in his right knee in the season finale last season, will need a couple of more weeks before he starts running again.
However, once he gets going, he hopes to sign with someone.
"It's just me," Seubert said Friday before attending practice. "I can't just walk away from; I can't let this say I'm done. If (the injury) wants to say I'm done, fine, but I'm going to give it everything I have to prove this ain't gonna end it. We'll see. I'm truly happy. Either way it goes, I'm happy. I'll still be going to games, still be watching."
Seubert was surrounded by former teammates David Diehl, Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie and Eli Manning and line coach Pat Flahery in receiving the Giants player of the year award from BigBlueInteractive.com for a year.
Seubert started all 16 games last season. He began at left guard, switched to center, moved back to left guard and finally back to center for the final game of a season.
"I don't want an injury to tell me when I'm done playing," Seubert said. "It's just the way I am. You know that. Stubborn, you could say I'm stubborn."
Seubert, who was released on the same day that the Giants waived veteran center Shaun O'Hara in another cost-saving move, said he was not bitter.
"Wellington Mara once said, 'Once a Giant, always a Giant,'" Seubert said. "I was a New York Giant for 10 years so it's kind of hard not to say that I'm still a New York Giant."
Seubert, who was the team's practical joker, said it was a little weird being around the team and not having his pads on.
"Maybe I'll try and trip someone running down the sideline," he said with an impish smile.
BACK AT PRACTICE: Backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels was back at practice on Friday after spending three days in Hackensack University Medical Center with a bad case of strep throat.
Rosenfels started coming down the strep last Friday and he played a little under the weather in the preseason opener in Carolina against the Panthers, completing 13 of 19 passes for 129 yards. The veteran lost 7-to-10 pounds with the serious throat infection. He experienced fever, chills, sweats and was treated with antibiotics intravenously, spending almost three days in bed.
"It was five days of laying around and taking a lot of IVs and trying to get rid of the bug," said Rosenfels, who said his body seemed to shut down on Saturday after he finished playing the 20-10 loss to the Panthers.
Rosenfels is not sure whether he will play on Monday against Chicago, saying he still is not 100 percent.
Besides Rosenfels, linebacker Michael Boley (back), DE Justin Tuck (sore Achilles' tendon), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (sore back) and defensive back Jarrant Tarrant (shoulder) also returned to practice.
Cornerback Corey Webster (death in the family), receiver Darius Reynaud (hamstring) and kicker Lawrence Tynes (thigh) did not practice.
PUBLIC'S LAST CHANCE: Saturday's practice at the Timex Performance Center will be the final one open to the public this training camp. It is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
-- Tom Canavan
Buccaneers humbled in blowout loss to Patriots
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been on both ends of preseason routs, but don't expect them to take any positives out of a blowout loss to the New England Patriots.
"Usually it's easier to teach 'em after a big loss because you can whup them and do whatever you want to do to them and everyone is accepting of it," coach Raheem Morris said Friday, one day after his team was dominated by New England in a 31-14 thumping. "But for us, whether it's been a big win or a big loss ... it's been the same general approach every time I talk to the team. I don't think it really applies to our football team."
After a 25-0 rout in Kansas City in their preseason opener, the Bucs were humbled by the Patriots, who took a 28-0 lead on their first five possessions.
"We got outplayed physically up front," Morris said, "and then really, it was a different approach to the game in how we played and they played."
Morris wanted to evaluate his young players "without any scheme or anything of that nature," and the early pace set by the Patriots was a big problem for the Bucs.
"We felt like we didn't come out with the same intensity as last week, the same intensity that they had," quarterback Josh Freeman said. "They came out and they took it serious ... you can see that with the intensity they had on the field. It is something for us to take and learn from."
Rookie linebacker Mason Foster might have learned a lesson from an unnecessary roughness call that kick-started the Patriots' second touchdown drive. Foster separated Chad Ochocinco from the football with a perfectly timed hit, but was penalized either for "launching" himself at the receiver or for hitting him in a defenseless position.
"There's going to be questionable (calls) like that all year," Morris said. "The human element is definitely going to be a factor, but the way they explained it to me and all the other teams, they're going to err on the side of caution. I don't have a problem with it."
Morris credited center Jeff Faine and offensive tackle Donald Penn for making adjustments to New England's blitz, and noted that defensive back Elbert Mack "had a big game" that included a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown. Corey Lynch, Larry Asante and Dekoda Watson were also singled out for defensive plays.
But Morris said many of the Bucs regulars were outplayed by their individual opponents, and he made a point of telling them that.
"They'll take it personally, and they'll come out and win those one-on-one battles," he said. "Who can stand up and win one-on-one versus (Devin) McCourty, a Pro Bowl corner? Who can stand up and win one-on-one versus this elite secondary with the blitz and the pressure coming after Josh? Let's find those things out."
Seattle's Minnesota trio gets look at old team
SEATTLE (AP) — Tarvaris Jackson was jerked around enough during his five seasons in Minnesota that it's understandable he craves a good performance against his former team.
Even if it's just the preseason.
"Regardless of who you're playing against, you want to compete. It's not all about that but of course I want to go there and win. I don't care if it's a preseason game or not. You want to win," Jackson said. "It would make it that much more special to get that against my old team. But that's not the whole focus, we're just trying to get better."
Jackson, Seattle's new starting quarterback, along with wide receiver Sidney Rice and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell will get an early look at their old team on Saturday night when the Seahawks and Minnesota meet in the second preseason game for both teams.
Jackson played just the first quarter last week in San Diego and did so without Rice or fellow starting wide receiver Mike Williams on the field. All three are expected to play on Saturday, likely most of the first half.
That'll be plenty of time for Jackson to try to give the Vikings a glimpse of what they let go.
"I just think (Jackson) needs opportunity, an opportunity that he's going to get here. Minnesota is in the past," Bevell said. "He got his opportunities there but this is a whole new opportunity, this is a new lease on life, it's a new outlook, new players, different coaches and he just needs to go out there and be himself. Obviously we see the talent in him but he just needs to be himself."
From the day he agreed to come to Seattle, Jackson's been anointed the starter, in part because of his history with Bevell and his understanding of the passing schemes Bevell was bringing from Minnesota. It was the Vikings' desire to move away from Bevell's schemes — based around the West Coast offense — that led to him departing Minnesota and landing in Seattle.
Having both Jackson and Rice around makes the entire offensive transition easier, especially with such a short amount of time to try to implement a new offense due to the reduced offseason spent with his players.
"There's definitely a benefit in their respective rooms because Tarvaris is able to speak from experience and Sidney is as well," Bevell said. "When things happen on the field, and I'm not in every one of those meetings, but they're able to speak up and say this is what we're looking for and how we've done it. They've been good that way."
And the Seahawks are stressing they don't need Jackson to feel the need to do too much. They've ramped up their running game with the addition of offensive line coach Tom Cable, three new starters on the offensive line and a full season of Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. The addition or Rice gives Jackson a familiar target while he also learns how best to utilize Williams and Pro Bowl tight end Zach Miller.
Saturday is an important test to see just how well that acclimation is going, especially since Jackson — like all free agent signings — had to sit the first week of training camp.
"He has total command of what we're doing. It's really well situated for us," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "Now we need to put him in situations where he's going to excel."
Some of the Vikings are also looking forward to catching up with their former teammates. Rice said he's been having fun texting all week with wide receiver Percy Harvin and running back Adrian Peterson. Harvin, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and receiver Greg Camarillo expected to sit out Saturday night's game.
Jackson and new Minnesota quarterback Donovan McNabb also share a relationship that goes back to when Jackson first arrived in Minnesota in 2006.
"Tarvaris and I definitely kept in contact a lot while he was here, and I'm excited about his opportunity in Seattle. I thought it would come a little earlier being here in Minnesota, but still you just have to be patient and that was one thing that I tried to stress with him, was just patience," McNabb said. "I think as a player, you want it to happen now, and we all thought it would happen. But obviously when they brought Brett (Favre) in, things changed a little bit. In this game, things aren't always going to go your way. I obviously learned that last year."
-- Tim Booth
News & Noites
Lions WR Johnson not playing against Browns
CLEVELAND (AP) — Detroit's top wide receiver Calvin Johnson is being kept out of the Lions' exhibition game against the Cleveland Browns as a precaution because of a bruised shoulder.
Johnson was not initially listed among Detroit's inactives, but the team announced he would sit shortly before Friday's opening kickoff. Maurice Stovall will start in Johnson's place.
Johnson got hurt in last week's 34-3 win over Cincinnati. He practiced twice this week and it was assumed he would play in Detroit's second preseason game. He had two catches for 37 yards and a touchdown against the Bengals.
Johnson had 12 TD catches last season.
-- Tom Withers