Jones said via a statement that it was a privilege to be McNair’s friend. McNair had battled skin cancer. He was 81.
“Bob’s stature, and the manner in which he carried himself and guided his franchise, commanded the respect of everyone in the ownership room of the NFL,” Jones said in the release. “His love for his team, and especially his players, was unsurpassed by any NFL owner that I have known.”
“I am most grateful and indebted to him for bringing Houston back to the NFL and re-establishing that great metropolitan area in our state as an NFL city,” Jones said. “We have lost a great Texan, sportsman and a wonderful person. He was not only a strong personal and professional influence on me, but his presence in the NFL helped grow and develop our league on so many levels.”
Before the Cowboys played the Texans in early October, Jones spoke of his desire to to help McNair and Houston return to the NFL after the Oilers left after the 1996 season. Jones owned the rights to the Texans name and gave it to McNair.
“I spent a lot more time in Houston than I did Dallas during the earlier part of my life,” Jones said in October. “I did everything I could do to get a team back in Houston.”