Post Camp News & Notes

A look back on several issues that seemingly won't go away, including notes on Quincy Carter's release, the Keyshawn Johnson and Warren Sapp "feud," and much more.

* Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he yet to hear from the NFLPA or the special master regarding the wrongful termination grievance filed against the team by quarterback Quincy Carter.

But he has talked to Harold Henderson of the NFL Management Council. Henderson was ironically in California on last Monday, the day NFLPA announced it was filing a special master proceeding against the Cowboys.

Jones said nothing was done official but they were able to go through some things earlier and with more detail than if Henderson had not been here.

No timetable, however, has been set for Jones and/or coach Bill Parcells to give depositions in the case.

"I would assume they would want to ask me some questions but no time frame has been set," Jones said.

* Cowboys receiver Keyshawn Johnson played on a limited basis against the Raiders because he has a quad strain. Yet he did catch four passes for 41 yards and renewed acquaintances with his old Buccaneers teammate Warren Sapp. The two had a love/hate relationship when both were with the Buccaneers the past four years.

The trend continued in the days leading up to Saturday's game.

Sapp fired the first shot on ESPN's SporsCenter Monday night when he said among other things that he didn't like the way Johnson went about his business, questioned his respect for Buccaneers quarterback Brad Johnson and said, "I don't like a guy that can never say my bad."

An incredulous Johnson responded in kind.

"Don't let Warren Sapp get on TV with that stuff," Johnson said. "That is what he wants to do. He is a media hungry dude. I don't have a problem with him. I don't care about him. I don't mention him unless you ask me. I haven't talked to him since the week of my last game in Tampa Bay. That man is irrelevant to me. That man is nobody to me.

"I have been gone from there since October. I don't worry about what Sapp is doing in Oakland when is here worried about what I am doing in Dallas."

Johnson said it would be wrong to say he dislikes Sapp. He said his wife and Sapp's wife are best friends and that they would sit together at the game on Saturday. He even offered that the two might pose for a picture before the game but said he wasn't going to let Sapp's words get to him because he essentially doesn't care.

"I could care less about what he did in life," Johnson said. "If I didn't play for the Buccaneers, I wouldn't know Warren Sapp. I wouldn't associate with Warren Sapp. But I don't have any ill will against Sapp. I have no problem with him. I just have no interest in going on television to talk about Warren Sapp. His game is to say something about me so I can say something about him so he can be on SportsCenter again."

Moreover, Johnson said he has no interest in getting involved in a battle with Sapp because he's more excited about playing football again. Last week's preseason game against Houston was Johnson's first football action since being fired by the Buccaneers last November.

"I just missed the fact that I can compete against the opposition," Johnson said. "I didn't get an opportunity to do that at the end of last season. I just want to play. To be honest with you, it can be with the third team as long as I am on the field. I just want to play."

* Cowboys coach Bill Parcells said if knew how nice Oxnard was going to be he would have scheduled training camp for four weeks instead of three.

Well, he will get that chance next season and maybe for several seasons to come.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones announced Thursday that the team was going to exercise its option with the city of Oxnard to return to California for training camp in 2005.

Jones said the team has agreement in place for one more year in Oxnard but they will remain in negotiations in hopes of striking a long term deal for training camp.

"It's to our advantage to have long term plans for training camp," Jones said. "So we are looking at more years down the road."

Next season will mark the first time the Cowboys have trained back to back years outside of the state of Texas since they ended a 26-year stint in Thousands Oaks, California in 1989.

Oxnard Mayor Manuel Lopez said he hopes the Cowboys stay in his city at least as long as they did in nearby Thousand Oaks.

A long-term deal could be had if the city makes a few improvements to the camp site, including parking and seating.

But it certainly has an ally in Parcells.

"I just know what ideal conditions this is for camp," Parcells said. "I think it's a good environment. You don't have to get in the car to go anywhere. It's all kind of self contained here and that is what is great and very convenient and just I think a very good situation for the team."

* Cowboys assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach Sean Payton returned to Oakland Saturday for the first time since he turned down an opportunity to become the Raiders head coach in the spring.

Even though it was a chance to live out a life long dream of becoming a head coach, Payton says he has no regrets and is not looking back.

Payton said he was close to taking the job but "when the dust settled and I had a chance to spend time with my family, coach Parcells and owner Jerry Jones, I felt it was best to stay."

"Any time you make those decisions they are difficult," Payton said. "Once I did it was full speed ahead. I have not given it much thought since then. The experience and the opportunity were fantastic. But we got something going on here. We are moving forward and not looking back." Jones doubled Payton's salary to $1 million annually to encourage him to stay.

* As the Cowboys leave California, they will leave behind one of their most valuable front office assistants.

Jason McKay is leaving the Cowboys to become director of player personnel for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League.

McKay, a Dallas Hillcrest native and North Texas grad who has worked in the personnel department under vice president Stephen Jones, used the trip to Oxnard for training camp to make the transition. He said he's looking forward to a challenging new opportunity but is appreciative of the experience he gained in Dallas where he also worked for the AFL Dallas Desperados.

"As a Dallas native and a longtime fan, working for the Cowboys was a dream come true," McKay said. "I wouldn't have this new job if it wasn't for that. Hopefully, I will continue to grow in the sport and maybe one day I can return in a bigger role with the Cowboys."

Quote to Note: "Well, I can't really answer that (why training camp wasn't disrupted by the stunning release of quarterback Quincy Carter). We just try to keep going on. You go forward and you move on. It's just ... sometimes this can be a very cold business, in the respect that sometimes, and I'm not saying this is the case in this case, but sometimes after you're gone it's like you were never there. You know. Just like when you guys leave those newspapers. I only know that my friend Will McDonough, my former friend, they still have his desk up there at the Boston Globe with nobody sitting in it. They still have that there. I don't know that that's going to be the case with any of you guys. You would hope so." -- Cowboys coach Bill Parcells.

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