Thursday, June 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cowboys Ring of Honor members take a walk, reminisce

FRISCO, Texas — Emmitt Smith is the NFL's all-time leading rusher. He helped the Cowboys win three Super Bowls in the 1990s as part of the famed "Triplets" alongside quarterback Troy Aikman and receiver Michael Irvin.

All three were on hand for the opening of the Ring of Honor Walk outside the Ford Center at The Star. Smith made sure his 7-year-old son, Elijah, took part in the ceremony when he unveiled the '22' monument.

"It'll probably be a moment that he'll never forget," the former Gator star said of having his son accompany him. "Something he'll be able to talk about, show-and-tell at school would be great, but he's trying to soak it all in.

"He's trying to understand what all of this is all about because he wasn't around when I played. To him, I'm just Daddy. If my kids ever forget what their daddy used to do, they'll always have a place to go."

The same can be said for the rest of the 21 members of the Ring of Honor. Smith was one of 16 living members of the Ring of Honor to attend the ceremony, along with Aikman, Irvin, Bob Lilly, Roger Staubach, Chuck Howley, Mel Renfro, Rayfield Wright, Cliff Harris, Don Perkins, Drew Pearson, Randy White, Lee Roy Jordan, Tony Dorsett, Charles Haley and Darren Woodson.

The families of four deceased members — Don Meredith, Tom Landry, Bob Hayes and Tex Schramm — were also on hand.

The only Ring of Honor member not in attendance or represented by family was Larry Allen.

"The meaningful thing for those of us that are in it is that it's a small number and you're talking about an organization that has won five world championships and a lot of great players," Aikman said. "And so from that standpoint, it means a lot.

"On the other hand, as I said, I understand that there are some that are very deserving that aren't in, but I know when you go around to some of these other stadiums, there's a lot of names, sometimes it's a bit overwhelming with the number of names, and I think that's been one of the neat things for Dallas' history or their Ring of Honor is that there aren't as many names."

Said Harris, a defensive back for the Cowboys from 1970-79, "It's an incredible experience. It's been a life experience, coming from a little, small school, Ouachita Baptist, to being part of the Ring of Honor is beyond belief."

All of the members enjoyed sharing stories from their playing days, of course.

Harris joked about running into Perkins as both wore No. 43.

"The equipment manager said, 'You're going to be No. 43.' I said, 'There's another 43,' '' Harris said. "He said, 'Don't worry. You're not going to make the team anyway.' That's how I got to be No. 43."

Lilly, the old TCU standout, recalled the early days of the Cowboys and practicing at Burnett Field in Dallas compared with the state-of-the-art facility the team now calls home.

"It was a condemned baseball stadium in Oak Cliff. We had to hang our uniforms and our shoes up because if you had sweat on stuff, the rats would come in at night and eat them all up," Lilly said. "We had no doors going into our locker room, so we learned to hang that up. We put rat poison out all the time and the rats just got bigger. They ate more and more.

"Now we're in a state-of-the-art facility."

Irvin enjoyed being around the organization's all-time greats and debating who would be in the starting lineup had they played in the same era.

"Who is starting — Emmitt or Tony?" Irvin said. "Who is starting — Roger or Troy? We are having those conversations. Of course, Drew Pearson and I say we are both starting at the same time. That works out for us."

The Ring of Honor members and their families then joined the current Cowboys roster for lunch prior to the first training camp practice at the Ford Center. That is always a special moment, particularly for a longtime player such as tight end Jason Witten, who will likely join them in the Ring of Honor whenever his career ends.

"It's great for us," Witten said. "You learn real quick when you get drafted here, what a privilege it is, the foundation those guys laid. To have a chance to be around them, not only some of the best ever to play here, but ever to play in the NFL, is really special for us."

Witten enjoys interacting with all of the greats, but has grown particularly close to Staubach and Irvin ever since joining the franchise as a third-round pick in 2003.

"Roger's always been a great resource for me over the years and amazing just how successful he is and how he just roots for us, always just genuinely pulling for us and a great man off the field," Witten said. "Michael is someone I've enjoyed being with. Just unbelievable passion, represented so much of what they were about. Emmitt's been somebody I looked up to as a kid and had the opportunity to be around. Those guys in the '90s are just great resources for all of us.

"If you're here long enough, you're around a lot of them."

Comments
Rick Stroud weighs in on report about possible Jameis Winston suspension

Rick Stroud weighs in on report about possible Jameis Winston suspension

Tampa Bay Times beat reporter Rick Stroud isn't buying an ESPN radio report that any suspension levied against Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston by the NFL would stem from Winston's failure to report an alleged incident between him and a female Ub...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: When will we know about possible Jameis Winston suspension?

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: When will we know about possible Jameis Winston suspension?

Rick Stroud talks about when we will know about a possible Jameis Winston suspension and why DeSean Jackson hasn't been more productive with the Bucs on today's podcast.Plus, who might the Rays trade next? Will the Lightning make any b...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Report: Bucs QB Jameis Winston bracing for suspension from NFL

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston could be suspended for up to three games  next season following the league's investigation into allegations he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016, a Tallahassee radio station reported.Jeff Cameron, a&#...
Published: 06/20/18
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Published: 06/19/18
Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston says ‘no excuse’ for disappointing 2017 season

Will Gholston is painfully honest about a 2017 season that wasn't anything close to what he wanted it to be. Ask him about last year, and there are no parentheses in his world to soften what he remembers here."I just played (crappy), completely. That...
Published: 06/18/18
Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

Ex-Bucs WR Lawrence Dawsey worked with team during OTAs

The Bucs had four extra coaches during organized team activities last month as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, including former Tampa Bay receiver Lawrence Dawsey.Dawsey, 50, played for the Bucs from 1991-95, finishing his time ...
Published: 06/18/18
Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

Bucs journal: O.J. Howard poised to take off?

TAMPA — There's always a lot of attention on the rookie class this time of year, rightfully so. There's a reason the Bucs focused on defense, and DT Vita Vea, CBs M.J. Stewart, Carlton Davis and S Justin Whitehead all look like they could have ...
Published: 06/16/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Published: 06/15/18
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Published: 06/15/18