December 19, 2011

Jones sees no link to Hurd's drug woes

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has no plans to alter background checks.

IRVING -- Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was surprised and saddened by the arrest of Chicago Bears receiver Sam Hurd on federal drug charges.

Hurd played five years with the Cowboys before signing with the Bears this summer. He was released by the Bears on Friday.

"Anytime we have any player, family friend or friends that are like family that have an issue, then I worry," Jones said. "Obviously, I don't know any facts. I know the quality of person I thought and know Sam to be. ... I can tell you there wasn't anybody anywhere, including our league reps or anybody they knew, that had any inkling about this until his arrest."

Hurd was arrested last week outside a Chicago restaurant after allegedly telling an undercover agent he wanted to buy five to 10 kilograms of cocaine and 1,000 pounds of marijuana per week to distribute in the Chicago area.

He was released after posting $100,000 bond.

Jones said he is not worried about any potential implications in the Cowboys locker room despite reports of Hurd having a list of several NFL players as his clients.

"I don't know any details other than what he said in that there is no list," Jones said.

While Jones remains shocked about Hurd's alleged drug dealings, he said he doesn't feel the need to address the way his security team does background checks on players. He said the Cowboys and the league are already doing all they can do.

"We are very thorough," Jones said. "I do have first-hand input to know how the league does it and what we do as a team. This doesn't make me wonder about our thoroughness."

Morris impressive

Veteran running back Sammy Morris put on quite the show against Tampa Bay, rushing 12 times for 53 yards in his first game in months.

Coach Jason Garrett had long been respectful of Morris, who was a former teammate in Miami, and was certainly expecting the best when the Cowboys signed him on Wednesday. But even Garrett was a bit surprised at how well the 12-year veteran played after just three practices. He had been on his couch watching football and working out since being cut by New England in training camp.

"It's hard to go from that environment, where you're lifting and running by yourself, and then you're coming and playing in an NFL game," Garrett said.

"I thought he did an outstanding job. I thought he did a great job in his week of preparation, getting himself ready to go in and run the football, pass protect and do all the different things he did in a new system, a system that he hasn't been around. I just thought he handled himself really well."

Said Morris: "[I've been doing this a long time... Just trying to approach the game as I always have. The last couple of years, I've played with a lot of veteran running backs -- Fred Taylor, Kevin Faulk, and those [type of] guys. You kind of hear the same thing talking to those guys. Being a pro is about coming out, doing your job, and preparing as much as you can. That's really all I did and whatever [happens] on the field kind of shows itself."

Jones leery of Eagles

Owner Jerry Jones believes the Cowboys can finish strong and make the playoffs with wins against the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles because of the way quarterback Tony Romo is playing.

Jones is not ready to bet the farm, not with a game against the Eagles on Saturday. Jones is still smarting from the 34-7 beat down the Cowboys took in Philadelphia in October.

"Well, after what happened to us in Philadelphia, there's no confidence," Jones said. "That's not the word for me. I'm respectful. I'm leery of them and we should be leery of them. It's going to be all we can do to really get out there at Cowboys Stadium and play."

Bennett's play

Cowboys tight end Martellus Bennett easily had his best game of the season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with three catches for 23 yards. He also contributed in a running game that totaled160 yards on 37 carries.

It was Bennett's first game back since missing the Giants game with a rib injury.

"He was very decisive in the passing game," coach Jason Garrett said.

"He had good energy, a good demeanor and played well throughout the game."

Penalty talk

Untimely penalties have been a problem for the Cowboys all season. They certainly were in the 37-34 loss to the Giants two weeks ago.

One week after committing at least 10 penalties for a third time, the Cowboys had a season low two penalties for 15 yards in the 31-15 victory against the Buccaneers.

"It's always a point of emphasis," coach Jason Garrett said. "We have officials at practice. We talk about playing with the right technique, penalty-beaters, things we can do technically to avoid penalties without taking our edge off.

"But you have to play smarter, and I thought our team did that."

Clarence E. Hill Jr.


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