Valley Ranch Wrap Up

Cornerback Mario Edwards hoped to remain with the Cowboys, but wanted more than the $605,000 tender offer the club sent to the restricted free agent in February. He got his wish with a one-year contract worth $1 million and still gets to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.

"I never like to cut off a player's free-agent year unless he's getting a seven-figure signing bonus," his agent Jordan Woy said. "We had talked with several teams about one-, two- and three-year deals, and had been talking back and forth with (the Rams)."

The Cowboys get some security for their thin cornerback position. The club has just Derek Ross and Pete Hunter returning from last year's rookie seasons, along with free-agent acquisition Donald Mitchell, who comes over from Tennessee. Edwards gives them four corners on the roster but he is the one with the most starting experience. Mitchell was a nickel back with the Titans and will be a nickel back in Dallas.

Edwards has started all but one game in the past two seasons, earning 32 career starts in his three years with the club. The former sixth-round pick in 2000 was the third of three cornerbacks drafted that year, but the only one still around since both Dwayne Goodrich (second round) and Kareem Larrimore (fourth round) have been released.

Re-signing Edwards will not change the Cowboys strategy heading into the draft. They will take a corner in the first or second round and are looking at Kansas State's Terence Newman and Washington State's Marcus Trufant as possible first-round choices.

-- The Cowboys finally got some competition for incumbent kicker Billy Cundiff when they signed Ola Kimrin to a contract. The Cowboys had been trying to bring Kimrin in for weeks but the native of Sweden had problems getting a work visa. Kimrin arrived in town last weekend, enabling the deal to get completed. The free-agent kicker, who has two years of NFL Europe experience, was cut in training camp last season by the Broncos.

-- Jerry Jones and Tex Schramm, who had rarely spoken since Jones bought the team in 1989 and fired Schramm and coach Tom Landry, seemed at ease on the podium.

They laughed, joked and came near tears.

With replicas of the Cowboys' five Super Bowl trophies sitting before them, Jones announced that Schramm would be the 12th inductee into the team's hallowed Ring of Honor. He'll join Tony Dorsett, Bob Hayes, Chuck Howley, Lee Roy Jordan, Tom Landry, Bob Lilly, Don Meredith, Don Perkins, Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach and Randy White.

Schramm, the Cowboys' president and general manager for 29 years and a Pro Football Hall of Famer, is finally being honored by his former team.

The official induction will occur at halftime of a game in the 2003 season, possibly in September.

Whenever it occurs, the moment will be hard-pressed to top the emotion that poured out Wednesday (April 16). Jones' announcement ended 14 years of bitterness between the men and mended a rift within the Cowboys family.

Jones said it was simply time to do the right thing and put Schramm, who is most responsible for transforming the Cowboys into America's Team, into the Ring of Honor.

"Tex is here because of the very obvious," Jones said. "He will always be recognized wherever the Cowboys are, whether they are in Texas Stadium or in another arena. He is going to be recognized as the architect, as the man who started and built the Cowboys into America's Team. That's as it should be. If it had not been for Tex, I wouldn't have wanted to buy the team 14 years ago. That transcends all the things that might come about on the personal nature and otherwise."

An elated Schramm, 82 and in failing health, never gave up hope of being inducted into the Ring of Honor, which was one his many lasting creations as the Cowboys' visionary general manager from 1960-1989.

Schramm first paid tribute to his late wife, Marty, who died in December. He said she is the only person who could truly understand what this meant to him.

"The person who is prouder and who would have enjoyed this as much or more than myself is my wife, Marty," Schramm said. "She was a great Cowboys fan and a great Tex Schramm fan. I know she is up there. She is a happy wife."

But on Wednesday, nobody was happier than Schramm.

As the creator of the Ring of Honor for those individuals who made deep and extraordinary contributions to the Cowboys and the game of football, he knows all too well what his induction signifies.

As a lifelong lover of all things Cowboys -- he never missed a home game for 10 years after his dismissal and has since watched every game on television -- Schramm rates this honor alongside that of being inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991.

"This is a very special moment for me," Schramm said. "The Ring of Honor is very special to me. I never gave up hope because I usually found that things that should happen ... usually did happen. I've always kept that thought."

"I love the Cowboys," Schramm continued. "I will always love the Cowboys. I thank Jerry Jones very much for taking this step. This was a very important step."

Jones took the first step a few weeks ago when he had public relations director Rich Dalrymple and longtime Dallas Cowboys Weekly publisher Russ Russell invite Schramm to lunch at the team's Valley Ranch headquarters. It was the first time Schramm had been back in 14 years. During the meeting, Jones told Schramm of his decision to induct him into the Ring of Honor.

"It was a big time for me," Schramm said. "It was a hard time for the last few weeks to keep my mouth shut."

Jones said his change of heart didn't involve a lot because "I've always had a lot of respect for him.

"We really wanted to do this last year," Jones said. "But I just didn't want it to look like we were trying to be positive to our fans. I recognize all of Tex's contributions, and he should be up there."

Schramm's Cowboys contributions included creating the Cowboys cheerleaders and being the brainchild of Cowboys football on Thanksgiving Day.

His work also changed the face of the NFL. He was a driving force behind the development and implementation of instant replay, giving the referee a microphone for penalty announcements, shortening the play clock, helping to develop the wild-card playoff system and coordinating the merger between the NFL and the AFL, which paved the way for the Super Bowl.

"I think it's a milestone," said longtime NFL broadcaster Pat Summerall, who counts both Jones and Schramm as friends. "The fact that Jerry has been able to bury the hatchet and Tex even more strongly to get rid of a lot of the bitterness and settle things to the satisfaction of both, that's a monumental thing. It takes a big man on both parts. This is where Tex should be."

Staubach, one of many former players and club employees from the Schramm era in attendance Wednesday, said Schramm's induction is a great tribute to him and the history of the Cowboys and gives fans an appreciation of the old days. He also couldn't discount the prospect of it finally bringing the entire Cowboys family together.

"Tex should be in the Ring of the Honor," Staubach said. "This brings the family together. At the end of the day, we are still Dallas Cowboys. We have contributed to the history of the Cowboys. That makes a statement."

Bob Lilly became the first member of the Ring of Honor in 1975, and Jones said the opportunity remains for others from past teams to be inducted.

"Because Tex is going, it doesn't mean that it closes the door on any of them, players or otherwise," Jones said. "It just means we are recognizing the man who built and basically started the Ring of Honor. I don't want any former players to think this is closing the door. That's not the case at all."

Roger Staubach, who was inducted in 1983, said that, by honoring Schramm, Jones is reaching out to Cowboys teams of the past.

"Jerry is really bringing together the whole history by having Tex come into the Ring of Honor, as he did with Tom Landry," Staubach said. "As far as I am concerned, other players should be in the Ring of Honor based on the history of the Dallas Cowboys, as well as in the Hall of Fame."

Mel Renfro, a 1981 inductee, was thrilled to hear of Schramm's induction, and is eager for some of his former teammates to join him in the Ring of Honor.

"It's a signal that something is happening," Renfro said. "More needs to happen. There's not enough in the Ring. It's a beginning, but there just needs to be a lot more."

Gil Brandt, who was director of player personnel for the Cowboys under Schramm, didn't hesitate to suggest players who deserve consideration.

"I think there are a lot of people: Rayfield Wright, Drew Pearson, Ed Jones, Cliff Harris, Charlie Waters," Brandt said. "I think we have a lot of very deserving players that should be there. Tex has always felt that this was a special honor, and that's why it's been so limited."

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