Cowboys News & Notes

The first official team meeting between coach Bill Parcells and his players will take place February 26th. That's when the new head coach is expected to announce several changes to take place involving a variety of issues, including the training room, weight room hours, off-season schedule and practice sessions.

--The first official team meeting between coach Bill Parcells and his players will take place Feb. 26. That's when the new head coach is expected to announce several changes to take place involving a variety of issues, including the training room, weight room hours, off-season schedule and practice sessions.

Parcells sent out a letter to each player announcing the meeting, and has already met with several players, either in formal settings or just passing in the hallways.

--Owner Jerry Jones said he feels like progress is being made in the negotiations to have training camp in San Antonio in 2003 but said no announcement is forthcoming.

The Cowboys are seeking a one-year deal with the city to hold their training camp at the Alamodome for a second-straight summer. But the team's talks with the city have stalled over a dispute regarding how to spend the $800,000 City Council has set aside for training camp.

According to sources, the Cowboys want all or most of the $800,000 to help pay for their expenses. The city, meanwhile, wants to keep a portion of the money to cover the dome's expenses.

Operations costs for the Alamodome during last year's camp were estimated at $200,000. After expenses, the dome made $714. The direct non-local spectator spending generated by the camp was $4.5 million.

The proposal from the Cowboys will present to the council includes the team's plans to hold a scrimmage with the Houston Texans during camp.

The Cowboys and the Texans scrimmaged last summer before 27,536 fans at Robertson Stadium on the campus of the University of Houston.

More than 166,000 flocked to last year's Cowboys camp. During negotiations with the team in early 2002, the city based its economic-impact projections on camp drawing at least 30,000 fans, a number surpassed on the second day of camp.

The hiring of Bill Parcells as the Cowboys' head coach could make this year's camp even more popular. Parcells, who led the New York Giants to Super Bowl victories after the 1986 and 1990 seasons, inherits a team that has finished 5-11 the past three seasons. But the 61-year-old coach has a history of turning losers into title contenders within a season or two.

The Cowboys trained in San Antonio for the first time last summer only after team Jones agreed to pay for the club's expenses. Under terms of the agreement, the dome kept money generated from parking and expenses.

There was no admissions charge to last year's camp.

--Jones and Parcells have had discussions about other players and on whether to bring in a starting quarterback, a veteran backup or go with Quincy Carter as Chad Hutchinson's backup.

"As we're sitting here right now, I'm expecting Quincy to be back," Jones said. "I don't know that a veteran quarterback can beat Quincy out."

Jones and the Cowboys have spent the past 10 days in scouting meetings, where they have evaluated college players for the draft and prospective players in free agency. They also talked about what to do with linebacker Kevin Hardy and wide receiver Raghib Ismail.

The Cowboys will not pick up the option for the final four years of Hardy's contract, which will make Hardy a free agent if they don't pay him $5 million Feb. 28. The Cowboys want him back and would like to renegotiate the contract to make it more cap-friendly. Hardy wants to return but other suitors might have something to say about it if they don't strike a new deal before free agency begins.

--A visit from Al Davis and his AFC champion Raiders in Week 4 highlights the Cowboys' 2003 preseason schedule, which the team released Tuesday.

Also on the schedule are trips to Arizona (Week 1) and Pittsburgh (Week 3), and a visit from the Houston Texans (Week 2).

In the regular season, the Cowboys host Philadelphia, the New York Giants, Washington, Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina and Miami. They visit Philadelphia, both New Yorks, Washington, Detroit, New England, New Orleans and Tampa Bay.

Dates and kickoff times for preseason and regular-season games will be announced later.

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