This call for leadership is paramount because of the arrival of the potentially divisive receiver Terrell Owens and the void created by the off season departures of receiver Keyshawn Johnson, tight end Dan Campbell, linebacker Dat Nguyen and nose tackle La'Roi Glover.
These guys said what needed to be said no matter what. They also did what needed to be done.
Quarterback Drew Bledsoe remains a leader on offense but coach Bill Parcells said others must come to the forefront.
Coach Bill Parcells says he can't mandate a leader. He says it must come from the players, although he has a few candidates in mind.
Namely, cornerback Terence Newman, tight end Jason Witten, safety Roy Williams and linebacker Bradie James.
"Somebody else has got to do it," Parcells said.
That Witten was given a six-year, $27.6 million contract extension means that he is an obvious choice as a leader. He has been tabbed a cornerstone player for years to come.
The same can be said of Williams, who also recently signed a four-year contract extension that included an $11.1 million signing bonus.
All of them, including James and Newman, are ready to embrace their new calling on the Cowboys.
"You have to leadership on every team," James said. "You need guys to keep that cohesiveness that you need to be a winner. It's a natural occurrence for guys to step into that role. Each year my duty has increased. Now I am not able to not only know that I am doing but I can motivate other guys to get them lined up and ready to play."
James said with great talent comes great responsibility.
Newman insists he doesn't plan on changing too much. As one of the team's weight room warriors, he has led by example since coming to the Cowboys as a first round pick in 2003.
But he will do what's necessary. If something needs to be said he will say it.
"Being a leader is not something you talk about," Newman said. "You just play and do your job. Some times it's not easy to tell your friend to step it up, but if you are willing to win you have to do it. As far me saying something, I have done it before and I will keep doing it until my point gets across."
Don't discount Owens as well. He has taken rookie receiver Sam Hurd under his wing.
He also made quite an impression on rookie linebacker Bobby Carpenter.
"All he does is demand results out of this team," Carpenter said. "He works extremely hard. That's all he wants his teammates to do. That's how I was at Ohio State. I was as hard on my teammates as I was on myself. If guys were slacking I would let them know. I plan to do the same thing here."
James, Newman the New Leaders?
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