One-armed Knife Sharpener
- Apr 7, 2013
By Jon Machota 10m ago
It would be understandable for Dak Prescott to be frustrated by his contract situation after the Cowboys and their franchise quarterback were unable to come to a long-term agreement before last month’s franchise tag deadline.
Despite Prescott and Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones having what both believe to be an important phone conversation in the final hours before that July 15 deadline, the quarterback will play this season under the one-year, $31.4 million tag. The two sides then hope to finalize the long-term extension they covet next offseason.
“I don’t focus too much about the future, just more about today,” Prescott said Wednesday, his first time speaking with reporters since February. “With that being said, I’m excited as hell to be a Dallas Cowboy. I have been a fan of this organization and fan of this program for years. I love the opportunity and the platform that I get to be the quarterback here. I love this team. I am excited about what we can do and accomplish this year. No frustration as far as that. I believe something will get done. I hope and believe I will be a Dallas Cowboy for the rest of my career.”
Jones and his father, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, both noted Wednesday that the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the NFL made the negotiations more difficult. However, it’s important to note that the Kansas City Chiefs and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes worked out a 10-year, $450 million extension on July 6.
“My fire is burning, and my fire is big,” Prescott said. “You can throw whatever you want in there for it to burn and for it to get bigger. I don’t know if I’m necessarily trying to prove something to the Cowboys or to this team because I feel like everybody in this building, this organization, knows the player I am, knows the man that I am, knows where my heart stands. I just want to be great. And that’s what I do each and every day is just try to come in here and do the best that I can to take another step to being that.”
While the coronavirus prevented NFL teams from having a normal offseason of minicamps and organized team activities, Prescott was able to keep most of his routines this offseason. He continued working with former NFL quarterback John Beck and the coaches at 3DQB. Much of that focus was on keeping Prescott’s mechanics sharp. He was also able to get in significant work with Cowboys wide receivers, tight ends and running backs during workouts at his home. Prescott recently had a full-size turf installed in his backyard.
“Obviously, once COVID came around, it was tough to find a place to throw,” Prescott said. “I’ve always dreamed about having a football field in my backyard, so that was something that I put the foot down and said, ‘Hey, let’s get it going.’ It can give me somewhere every offseason. You can’t plan for things like this, but when things like this come around, I’ll just be able to have it and it’s obviously private access so we can get the work we need. That was kind of the thought in creating that field in my backyard. It’s been very beneficial, just having the guys out there, being able to throw, being able to get a lot of work, and we’re going to hit camp running because we’ve been working for a good amount of time now.”
The Cowboys have recently finished the strength and conditioning phase of training camp and will begin practices Friday at The Star. Prescott is one of several veteran Cowboys players staying at the Omni hotel next to the team’s practice facility during training camp. The goal is to form as close to a bubble atmosphere as possible heading into the start of the regular season next month, and Prescott estimates about 90 percent of the roster is staying at the Omni. The players have not yet determined if they will continue staying there during the season.
“For me, it’s about trying to stay as safe as I can, as healthy as I can without knowing the true future of where this season’s going to go,” Prescott said. “I think it’s important for us as players to try to create the biggest bubble — or the smallest bubble, I guess you can say, as we can amongst players. Because as this season gets to playing out, I think part of it is: The healthiest team wins. That’s something we’ve come together as leaders and taken on this option to stay in this hotel. So we can try and stay healthy, all be there for each other, set an example for the young guys about avoiding downtown, avoiding other people and where people can go.
“What’s important right now is this football team, this season and not only our health but the health of our families, so I think this is the best way we can make sure that happens.”
Here are some of the other important topics Prescott discussed during a nearly 30-minute conference call with local reporters.
So many offensive weapons. Prescott views getting everyone involved as being a good problem for the Cowboys. He said he has seen no egos while he’s been working out with players like Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Blake Jarwin this offseason.
“I think that’s the best part about it,” Prescott said. “They all want to see the other guy have success, but obviously they want to have success, and it’s just going to create this amazing, fun environment and it already has. It has been that way for a couple of weeks as we’ve been going. It’s just exciting to see that much talent and that those guys care that much about the team and not themselves. We’ll be able to spread it out and make everybody happy.”
In regards to Lamb, specifically, Prescott said Dallas’ first-round pick is a very smart player who is always asking questions.
“He’s going to be a great addition to this team and play a huge role in our success immediately and in the future,” Prescott said. “I couldn’t be happier with that pick and couldn’t be happier with the guy that he is, the young man he is.”
Opt-out consideration? Prescott said he never considered the possibility of opting out of this upcoming season because of COVID-19 concerns.
“Football has always been my safe haven, it’s always been a place for me to find peace,” he said. “Especially with everything that’s happened in my life personally, especially in the place this world is in, I think football’s a safe haven and peace for a lot of people. It never crossed my mind to opt out and to not be here with my guys and to not be where I love to be doing what I’ve been blessed to do. Obviously, there’s some concerns, but for me this is about being as safe as I can, following the guidelines the team and NFL have laid out for us to not put yourself in jeopardy of contracting this COVID thing. So for me, it’s just about doing exactly as I said, trying to stay healthy. I’m not much of a going-out guy anyway, so it’s been pretty easy for me for the most part.”
Changes with Mike McCarthy now in charge. Although they haven’t spent a lot of time together up to this point, Prescott has noticed McCarthy’s authenticity.
“He’s a very, very genuine guy,” Prescott said. “I think that’s the first thing that hit off with the team. When he got in front of the team and when he walks around the building, you feel it. When he talks, you hear it. And then you see it just in his actions. I think that’s huge when you’re coaching a football team and being a leader, to be genuine like that, to be transparent. That’s the way he’s been.”
In terms of specific coaching changes he has seen since McCarthy was hired, Prescott mentioned better communication.
“I think from the offensive line to the receivers out wide, everybody knows why and everybody knows their purpose and everybody knows where they need to be and the whole point of that within the play,” he said. “I think that just gives us all knowledge. We’re somewhat veteran guys, young guys who have played a lot of football early in their careers, but I wouldn’t say that we’ve been as smart as we’ve needed to be within the game of football. I think that’s what these coaches have come and added and just got us all speaking the same language. I think that’s going to be huge.”
Loss of his brother. Prescott’s older brother, Jace, died in April at the age of 31. Prescott, who lost his mother to colon cancer in 2013, said while it’s obviously been a tough year for the world, it’s been a particularly tough one for him and his family.
“He meant a lot to my family, he meant a lot to me,” Prescott said. “He’s part of the reason I am a quarterback. When I was a little kid, he was the reason I first started throwing the football. … I have a great family to count on and lean on. I have great supporters here, great teammates, great coaches, people that helped me get through it. And him as well — I know I have the obligation to live on and carry on another legacy. So now it’s not just my mother; it’s my brother as well. I will continue to do that in every walk of my life.”
Social justice issues. Although Jerry Jones said he has not talked with the team regarding social injustices and the possibility of silent protests during the national anthem this season, Cowboys players have been having those discussions. Prescott said the team is getting close to coming up with a decision on how they want to represent each other as well as the team and the country. Prescott said it’s difficult to determine right now if all the players will do something as a team.
“That is what the conversations are about right now,” Prescott said. “As a football team, you want to represent one group. I think the best part about football is it represents, in a sense, the country. Different people from different economic backgrounds, different social backgrounds, different beliefs, religion, color. Any way you think of, the football team is compiled of all kinds of different places and backgrounds where they come from. We all come together for one common goal, and that is to support each other and go win. I think in anything that we do, we want to kind of represent how we can come together and how we can be as one, and that’s what this country needs to be right now. I think that is what everybody is seeing with the world we are in and the crisis we have going on right now in our country.
“So hopefully we can do something all together. But then again, I think this time is more important to listen and not to be personally saying your opinion and personally saying your thoughts because you have to be able to relate to somebody else’s perspective and understand where they are coming from and understand the differences that you have and they have. It would also be tough just to say you don’t understand why somebody wants to be different and do something that represents their family and represents where they come from and represents their belief.”
Million-dollar pledge. In June, Prescott pledged $1 million to improve police training and address systematic racism through education and advocacy. When Prescott was asked about the donation on Wednesday, he explained why what he was doing was a pledge and not a donation.
“I think that’s a huge difference, because when you pledge, you’re saying that you’re going to put forth something, not that you’re just donating to these people or these people and hope that they put your money in the right place,” he said. “When I pledged to go a million dollars, honestly, it could be more — it could be way more. I just wanted to make a pledge to say that I am here, and I am here for the people to help create a better culture within our law enforcement system, so we can gain that trust. There’s no reason, still, me as a starting quarterback in the NFL should be nervous the moment sirens are turned on, but that’s just the way it is. I think that we can somehow shrink or somehow take down that barrier, those nerves or anxiousness or whatever that may be by bettering our law enforcement.
“I don’t think the answer is defunding them. I think we need protection, we need what they offer, but we all know that there is some corruptness within that, and I think it has to start within as anything does when you’re trying to get the bad out and create good, so that was my pledge, and with my foundation, Faith, Fight, Finish Foundation, we’re working to create a program to try to get in there with the law enforcement. It’s going to have to come down from the top obviously to make some changes. It’s something that I want to be nationwide, and it’s something that may not happen today — it’s something that I may not see in my life. But I have all beliefs that it’ll happen one day, whether it’s my kids and the people of the future can be protected and protected the right way and feel safe about it.”