As we like doing, rather than parse owner Jerry Jones' comments in ways that open all of us to up bias ... Here's all of the Cowboys owner on Tuesday morning, speaking with 'Shan and R.J.' ... a Greg Hardy-centric visit that requires the continued coverage by our Mike Fisher on the same subject ...
HOW DO YOU VIEW THE GREG HARDY SITUATION NOW? -- "I don't have any different view than I had Sunday."
SO YOU WOULD ENCOURAGE GREG TO SHOW THAT TYPE OF PASSION? -- "I would encourage -- what you see on the sideline. I think everyone is aware of this. It does give you an unfettered and very transparent aspect of what goes on with the team. You've got arguably a hundred people involved down there. So, if you get to see it, what you don't though is the audio part. I have probably the largest drawer full of what I call 'sweet nothings,' letters from fans and interested people. My largest drawer for almost 30 years has been comments about how the players, or frankly sometimes how I've looked, from the sidelines. And in doing so, it's funny how those expressions and those types of things are interpretted. And you have such things as many, many of them were about Aikman just needs to have more fun. He looks so solemn. He looks so upset. And, of course, we know that's his competitiveness. That's the way he was built and the way he looked down there. He wasn't glad-handing. And, so, my point is it's a very clear view. It's one of the great things I enjoy about football and about his presentation on television. But it does give you, those cameras do, a real good insight into the kind of emotion that goes on within a team, whether it be as a unit as the offensive line or whether it be a group, the secondary, whether it be special teams. Whatever it is, it does give you an insight."
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO FOLKS WHO SAY YOU ENABLE HARDY? -- "I would say that they said that when I signed him. So, you begin right there. We all know that the same ones that had the idea, and I really do understand completely their perspective, and they know -- I don't need to say it again -- in no way is anybody anything but against any type of domestic violence. We won't get into that. That's not the point. We're talking about the sideline, but you're going to go ahead and take me on over to that aspect of it. But the most comments I got on enabling was when we signed him. 'They're enabling.' It basically looks like you're condoning domestic violence, which is not the case."
HOW HAS HARDY BEEN A LEADER FOR YOU GUYS? -- "The leadership aspect comes in different ways. First of all, to really be a leader on a football team, you talkin' the talk without walkin' the walk, the old song, everything else, doesn't happen. The real leaders are really outstanding football players. And, so, they get it done and through that, they earn a great deal of respect by their teammates. And, so, my view is totally through the eyes of within the team what the team thinks, what they think of each other, what they think of each other. How hard are they willing to support each other when you do get in these competitive times? And, so, it is the role of an individual. It is not necessarily a guy that givese a Knute Rockne talk. But it can be done through sheer abilities on the field. And, so, since Greg, by the way, this has been with him forever. Since Greg got here, his effort, his basic aggressiveness, which is an absolute must to play the game and play his position, has just absolutely been something that if you have any knowledge or not necessarily a lack of knowledge, but if you have an appreciation for football, when he talks you listen."
SO NO TALKS ABOUT DISCIPLINING HARDY? -- "None."
DO YOU WANT TO EXTEND GREG HARDY? -- "Yes. When we initially signed, talked to him, asked him to join the team, it was not only with the idea of a short-term but a long-term purvey. He's a relatively, relatively speaking, young player. And he certainly has the kinds of skills and impacts that we want to look to the future with with the Cowboys."
WHAT IS THE MOST MISUNDERSTOOD THING ABOUT HARDY? -- "His personality. His personality is one that is very contagious and has that aspect to it. I don't know if anybody from afar could have seen that. But in close, you see it. He had it from the team he came from, Carolina. And he had it from Memphis where he played, where he went to school at Ole Miss. So I would say he absolutely has got a personality that, when you ask what's misunderstood now. I'm not trying to interpret his personality for you, but I'm just saying that would be misunderstood. But the reason, to some degree, that's not uncommon at all for people to have one perception publicly and then to be pretty different in person."
EDITOR'S SIDEBAR: Shan and RJ didn't ask Jerry about the report that Hardy was "AWOL'' from practice last Thursday. Maybe they didn't need to, because their own colleague, Mike Fisher, was on an hour before Jerry and cleared it up pretty well, as he did dating all the way back to last Thursday morning:
And just now, Chris Mortensen essentially confirmed Fish's reports ...
BACK TO JERRY ... HOW AGONIZING HAVE THESE LOSSES BEEN? -- "The facts are that we had the early part of this loss run, for lack of better way to express it, we didn't have other players that we got out there right now. It's even more frustrating to have Hardy and have McClain and people like that, Gregory, and still not be able to come out of there with a win. It's very frustrating. Everybody's got it read right. We need some wins. If a plan of having help on the way through Romo, through Dez is going to be able to be effective because we've got to not be eliminated by the time we get to running on full throttle or have a full boat. So, it is frustrating. It's concerning, but believe you me: everybody's concerned. What is not happening is that this team is not losing it's hard. It's not losing its competitiveness. As a matter of fact, it's gaining on it. The effort that we got out there the other night, not only the individual play but also playing as a unit gave you a lot of encouragement."
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF CASSEL? -- "Mixed bag. Certainly we can take back some of the turnovers. On the other hand, he opened it up. He allowed the balance that you want to see on offense, and it was pretty impressive because the Giants are no pushovers when it comes to the running game and when it comes to their defense. We did a real effective job there. And of course our defense, I thought, other than the fact we didn't get turnovers, I thought our defense played really well."
WAS THIS THE MCFADDEN YOU SAW AT ARKANSAS? -- "I think that was the McFadden that you saw not only as a collegiate player but also the one that meritted the fifth pick in the draft or the sixth pick in the draft. But you saw him use that extraordinary burst. Deion Sanders, not only was he fast, but from a standing start to a full blown run, he did it in probably the quickest of any athlete that's played in the NFL. McFadden's got that. He's got that burst and you see it really to the outside. It looks like to the eye that he makes a yard or two if that and they move the chains down six or seven yards. That's the key."
HAS MCFADDEN EARNED THE CHANCE TO START SUNDAY? -- "Yes. You talk about cream coming to the top. That's what you look for. It's got to come possibly, not necessarily when you would like for it to come, and that's the third game of preseason where you're going to see if it's all put together out there. But he certainly showed in a very competitive situation what we had hoped he's capable of doing. He should just continue to get better. He really was the complete package out there the other day."
WHERE ARE WE WITH THE DEZ RETURN? -- "Had good results. Had a good weekend of working out. Worked out real hard Sunday before the game. Didn't have any lingering effects yesterday. So, that means we feel real good about what he gets done today. So, we'll work him in and see how it goes this week and see if we can get him on the field."