This summer, the hottest "controversy'' in Camp Cowboys figures to revolve around something or other mumbled by Terrell Owens – and the mumbling will mean nothing until the Cowboys lose a game or two.
Use the above as Exhibits A and B proving that Bill Parcells runs an EXTREMELY tight ship. And if you need further Exhibits, step back in time with me – as we are less than two weeks away from the start of the 2006 camp and dead-on the anniversary of the day, 63 years ago, when Jimmy Johnson escaped from his mother's womb an immediately ordered his placenta over to the Asthma Field – and check out a four-pack of samplings from Camp Cowboys under Jimmy Jenius.
… and consider how unlikely it is that such shenanigans will occur under Parcells in Oxnard.
ITEM: In 1991, rookie running back Tony Boles is granted permission by Emmitt Smith to borrow Smith's Nissan Pathfinder and Smith's credit card. Boles is allowed to drive the car for the afternoon, and to gas it up. Twenty-four hours pass, and Boles hasn't returned to camp, causing Emmitt to contact the Austin police and report the car stolen. Two days pass before Boles returns. Not much more time passes before Tony Boles returns to civilian life, his NFL dream on empty.
ITEM: In 1990, receiver Kelvin Martin realizes it is 10:59 p.m., one minute before curfew. As he speeds back to the St. Edward's University campus in Austin, he is pursued by police. Decisions, decisions. … does he pull over and deal with police, thus ensuring the wrath of Johnson? Or does he try to speed back to camp, thus ensuring the wrath of the cops? Martin, in true Austin form by being Dazed and Confused, decided to hide in a parking lot. A parking lot that turns out to be across the street from a police station. Where the cops find Kelvin. … and a 9mm pistol resting underneath his seat.
ITEM: In 1990, veteran Jeff Zimmerman and three Cowboys kids named Aikman, Stepnoski and Johnston – decide to hit the clubs in San Diego. "We got there (to one nightspot) at 11, and curfew that night was at 12,'' Aikman says.
The boys therefore figure they can have some quick kicks and get back to the UC at San Diego headquarters in plenty of time. But Zimmerman, the driver, gets lost. And when a UCSD security guard finally does escort them to the dorm, he directs them to the wrong building. … the building where coaches are housed.
Johnson assigns offensive coordinator David Shula to mete out the punishment. Not to say Shula isn't respected, but. … as the story goes, Daryl Johnston – a life-long good soldier but on this night a bit intoxicated – throws a punch. That plunges through a wall. Very near Shula's face.
ITEM: In 1991, lineman hopeful Freddie Childress engages in a dorm-room dispute with some of the fellas. Unfortuntely for him, he does so during the scheduled nap time of Mark Tuinei. Tui wakes from his slumber, enters the hallway, and wraps his hands around the ample neck of the 350-pound Childress and hoists him off the ground.
Childress is only temporarily slowed; he announces he's "going to my truck and getting my gun!'' Tuinei is only temporarily awake; while other Cowboys flee from the dormitory, Tui – confident that Childress won't dare mess with him – goes back to sleep.
And there you have it.
So whatever you think of Parcells, and whatever you anticipate from Owens, know this: The odds are very much against this summer in Oxnard featuring a running back committing grand theft-auto, an armed receiver hiding from police, a future Pro Bowler trying to separate an assistant coach from his own chin, and two linemen attempting to literally murder each other.
Oh, and happy birthday, Jimmy.
Cowboys Camp? Calm Before the ... Calm
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