Saturday Evening Insider Camp Notes

OXNARD, Calif. - More insider news and notes from Saturday evening's practice in Oxnard.

Demarcus Ware is now a Cowboy defender. Marcus Spears is now a Cowboy defender.

And Kevin Costner is now a Cowboy defender, too.

Oscar-winning Hollywood star Costner popped up at training camp in Oxnard on Saturday afternoon, tooling along in a golf cart with team owner Jerry Jones. Turns out, in past seasons when the team has trained in California, Jones set up his family at the Costner manse.

Jones had reason to be happy late Saturday, what with the signing of the first-round rookies and the companionship of Landlord Costner, who was asked whether he'd rather win an Oscar (as he did for "Dances With Wolves'') or win a Super Bowl.

"Oh, I'd rather with the Super Bowl,'' said the actor.

We'll keep this last part just between us (or, as Jerry likes to say in his Arkansas twang, "Just between us girls''), but Costner can't fool us with his newfound allegiance. We've been around long enough to remember a decade ago, when Costner declared his devotion to the San Francisco 49ers, then Dallas' postseason archrival.

Maybe Costner was influenced by Dallas' smooth signing of all its picks on the first weekend of camp. Or maybe Jerry always paid the rent on time.

SAFETY FIRST: The Cowboys say the free-safety job is wide open and that the chances to work with the first team will rotate in camp. But two things are clear:

1) Brock Marion, a favorite of, is not in the plans (Jerry Jones whispered that one to us), and

2) Special-teams ace Keith Davis is a staff favorite.

Lynn Scott did take the first turns at safety on Saturday, but coaches have raved all spring about Davis.

"He's done everything I've asked him to do,'' Parcells said. "We're going to give him a shot at the starting job. I hope he can get it.''

LA In LA: Larry Allen was still wearing that Larry Bird jersey late into the evening on Saturday – but also wearing a smile. As he signed autographs for fans and spent time with family, including his visiting mother, it was clear he's not overly concerned about his temporary PUP status.

Still, speculation that this is some sort of conspiracy between Parcells and Allen to motivate the lesser Cowboys seems awfully Pollyannaish to me. I get that the Cowboys made lemonade out of this by taking a good early look at youngster Stephen Peterman, last year's injured third-round draft choice, at left guard. But you have to put Allen on PUP to give Peterman some snaps? You have to put him on PUP to give him a blow?

With all due respect to the Cowboys apologists, that is preposterous.

Allen is on PUP because he did something wrong. Peterman, for whatever promise he has, is working with the first team primary because. … Allen did something wrong.

Quick Hits: Parcells spent considerable time late in the second workout with punters, kickers and return people. Speedy wideout Ahmad Merritt in particular earned one-on-one instruction from the head coach. … Keyshawn Johnson was barking out to anybody who would listen that "I'm too old to do this! I'm too old!'' He was being sarcastic. You hope. … Kurt Vollers is getting the first crack at right tackle. … Remember that T-shirt we wrote about earlier Saturday, the one Parcells wore that is inscribed, "WINNING IS OUR BUSINESS''? He wore it again on the afternoon session. It's a far cry from Cowboys camps in the punishing heat of Austin and Wichita Falls, where you wore one T-shirt – and might as well have thrown it away after that. … The Cowboys are scheduled for just a single workout on Sunday. The lack of consecutive days of two-a-days is a frequent feature of the summer schedule.

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