Cowboys News & Notes

Rookie cornerback Terence Newman, the Cowboys' top draft pick, has no problems with being coach Bill Parcells' personal water boy. As a matter of fact, two days into the job at minicamp, he's starting to take pride in his work.

"On Friday I had little ice, [Saturday] I had a lot of ice," Newman said. "I guess he liked a lot of ice. [Today] I will bring a lot of ice."

Newman, who also has to bring donuts to the facility every Saturday morning, called the hazing something he "has to go through.

"I am the first pick and I am the rookie," Newman said. "[Parcells] will have all his first picks do it. That makes me feel better. Next year, somebody else will have to do it."

Newman said Parcells and the changes he's brought to the Cowboys -- such as taking the star off the rookies' helmets and making the top picks do menial tasks -- remind him of his college coach, Bill Snyder.

"[Parcells] is a great guy," said Newman, who went to Kansas State. "And he knows what he is doing. He is a hard-nosed guy. He's what you want in a coach." Adjusting to Parcells has been easier than adapting to the speed of the NFL for Newman, who had his hands full covering receiver Randal Williams on Saturday.

"He's big and you don't think he's that fast," Newman said of the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Williams. "[Parcells] said this is the big boys, this isn't that Big 12 speed. This is real speed."

The biggest setback for Newman however, has been regarding his jersey. He said the Cowboys promised him No. 21 on draft day, but gave him No. 41 when he reported. Cornerback Derek Ross has No. 21 and apparently doesn't want to give it up.

Newman said he still wants No. 21, but not enough to pay Ross for it.

Whenever Newman signs a contract with the Cowboys, he likely will have enough money to buy several numbers if he chooses. San Diego cornerback Quentin Jammer, last year's fifth overall pick, received a six-year, $32.7 million deal, including $10.5 million in signing and option bonuses. Newman said the money is the only thing he wants in common with Jammer, who missed all of training camp in a contract dispute.

"I am not holding out," Newman said. "I've already told my agent I need to be here to help contribute to the team, and I can't do that not being here."

--After making the team as a running back/kick returner last season, Woody Dantzler's prayers were answered when the Cowboys allowed him to work with the quarterbacks when the off-season program began in March.

Parcells called the former Clemson quarterback a hybrid player whose talents intrigued him.

After the first day of minicamp, Dantzler's talents intrigued Parcells at another position. He played quarterback Friday, but walked into the Cowboys' facility Saturday morning to find a jersey with No. 36 on it. He was moved to safety for the day before being moved back to quarterback on Sunday.

Dantzler, who has not played defense since middle school, said he just wants a chance to make the team.

"I am a football player," Dantzler said. "They just want to see what I can do. The more positions I can play, the better chance I've got to make this team."

--Undrafted linebacker Keith O'Neil thought it was kind of surreal that the Cowboys signed him to a free-agent contract, considering the events of roughly 23 years earlier.

On Aug. 26, 1980, then-Patriots assistant Bill Parcells delivered the news to veteran linebacker Ed O'Neil that he was being cut. It would prove to be a day the O'Neil family would never forget. Shortly after relaying the news of his release to his wife, she went into labor and gave birth to a boy.

"I grew up knowing my dad got cut the day I was born," said O'Neil, who played at Northern Arizona. "When I got signed by Dallas, I thought it was kind of funny because [Parcells] was here."

Parcells knew O'Neil was the son of a former Patriots player, but he didn't know the circumstances of that fateful day in 1980 until Friday.

"He knew who my father was, but I don't think he knew that was the day I was born," O'Neil said. "I was walking off the field, and he said, 'O'Neil, how is your father?' And then I told him what happened. He laughed and chuckled. He thought it was ironic."

--Last week was not a good week for Cowboys center Tyson Walter.

He lost his starting job on Saturday when the Cowboys selected Wisconsin's Al Johnson in the second round of the draft.

On Wednesday, a Columbus, Ohio jury awarded him only $6000 in resolution of a civil suit that Walter had brought against Saints center LeCharles Bentley.

Walter had sought more than $2 million from Bentley, who broke the nose of the Cowboys player during a fight in February of 2000 when both were students at Ohio State. Walter contended the blow caused an infection that spread to his hip and forced him to sit out the following season at Ohio State.

He also contended that the injury affected his draft status, thus costing him financially.

Walter, who returned from the injury to be an All-Big 10 performer in 2001, was a sixth-round pick of Dallas last season.

--After getting no new defensive tackles in the draft last weekend, the Cowboys filled a need at the position by re-signing five year veteran Michael Myers on Tuesday.

Myers got a one-year deal worth $530,000 and $75,000 signing bonus. Several performance incentives give him the chance to earn close to $900,000 in 2003.

Myers, the Cowboys' fourth-round pick in 1998, chose to remain in Dallas over interest from the rival Redskins, who offered him a minimum one-year contract with a $25,000 signing bonus.

Interestingly enough, Myers became a priority again for the Cowboys because 2002 starter Brandon Noble signed a free-agent deal with the Redskins and the team was unable to replace him in the draft.

He said he preferred to stay in Dallas because of the familiarity here and the fact that he will get a chance to start. The Redskins wanted him as a backup.

Myers may or may not start alongside right tackle La'Roi Glover for the Cowboys next season. But his presence gives the Cowboys proven experience at a position that boasts the untested likes of John Nix, Colston Weatherington, Willie Blade, Ron Moore and Daleroy Stewart as returning prospects for the rotation in 2003.

"Michael has been a solid contributor to the success we have had on the defensive side of the ball in the past, and he is an important part of our plans for the coming season," owner Jerry Jones said. "It was important that we get him back into our rotation on the defensive line for next year because of his experience and leadership. We have some young players at that position (defensive tackle), and they will benefit from playing along side someone who has Michael's understanding of the position and our scheme."

Myers played in all 16 games in 2002 and finished the season fifth among defensive linemen with 44 tackles. He also tied for second on the team in tackles behind the line of scrimmage with a career-high seven stops totaling losses of 15 yards, while adding eight quarterback pressures, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Myers (6-foot-2, 292 pounds) started 16 games in 2001, collecting career-high totals for tackles (67), sacks (3.5) and quarterback pressures (15). Myers will enter his sixth NFL season in 2003.

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