Feb 8, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; NFL Network reporter Jim Trotter at press conference at Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Reporter Jim Trotter sues NFL, claims he was retaliated against

Longtime NFL journalist Jim Trotter filed a lawsuit against the league Tuesday, alleging his departure from NFL Media was retaliatory and racially motivated.

Trotter, who is Black, claimed his employment at NFL Media ended earlier this year after he “challenged Commissioner Roger Goodell … regarding the NFL’s record of race discrimination and lack of diversity” at Goodell’s pre-Super Bowl press conference. NFL Media is owned and operated by the league.

NFL Network also is named as a defendant in the suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The league has claimed Trotter’s contract was not renewed due to economic decisions.

“We share Jim Trotter’s passion for quality journalism created in and supported by a diverse and inclusive environment,” the league said in a statement. “We take his concerns seriously, but strongly dispute his specific allegations, particularly those made against his dedicated colleagues at NFL Media.”

While not named as a defendant, Buffalo Bills owner Terry Pegula is alleged in the lawsuit to have made racist comments about Black NFL players.

Trotter relayed a conversation with a fellow NFL Media reporter, who was not identified. That reporter was speaking with Pegula in 2020 about the Black Lives Matter movement and the NFL’s social justice programs, and Pegula said, “If the Black players don’t like it here, they should go back to Africa and see how bad it is.”

Pegula denied making the comment in a statement Tuesday.

“The statement attributed to me in Mr. Trotter’s complaint is absolutely false,” Pegula said. “I am horrified that anyone would connect me to an allegation of this kind. Racism has no place in our society and I am personally disgusted that my name is associated with this complaint.”

Trotter’s lawsuit said that he took a complaint to NFL Media executives, who told him that the league office was investigating it.

Trotter also alleged that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told him in 2020 that, “If Blacks feel some kind of way, they should buy their own team and hire who they want to hire.” Neither Jones nor the Cowboys have commented.

Trotter, who now works for The Athletic, is seeking unspecified damages as well as an investigation into “discriminatory and/or retaliatory animus of all persons in position of power within the NFL,” per the lawsuit.

“The NFL has claimed it wants to be held accountable regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. I tried to do so and it cost me my job,” Trotter wrote on social media Tuesday. “I’m filing this lawsuit because I can’t complain about things that are wrong if I’m unwilling to fight for what is right.”

–Field Level Media

Feb 1, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Gil Brandt arrives on the red carpet during the NFL Honors awards presentation at Adrienne Arsht Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Hall of Famer Gil Brandt, co-architect of Cowboys as ‘America’s Team,’ dies at 91

Pro Football Hall of Famer, NFL scouting innovator and former Dallas Cowboys vice president of player personnel Gil Brandt died Thursday. He was 91.

Brandt joined the Cowboys for their inaugural season in 1960 and became one of the preeminent talent evaluators of his era while helping the club to a pair of Super Bowl titles in the 1970s. He spent 28 years with Dallas before being fired by new owner and general manager Jerry Jones in May 1989.

Under Brandt — as well as long-time head coach Tom Landry and general manager Tex Schramm — the Cowboys made five Super Bowl appearances.

Brandt was named to the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor in 2018 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2019, with Jones presenting him at his induction for the latter honor.

“We are so deeply saddened by the passing of Gil Brandt — a true icon and pioneer of our sport,” Jones said. “Gil was at the very core of the early success of the Dallas Cowboys and continued to serve as a great ambassador for the organization for decades beyond that. His contributions cemented his spot in the Ring of Honor. He was my friend and a mentor not only to me, but to countless executives, coaches, players and broadcasters across the National Football League, which rightfully earned him a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame where his legacy will be celebrated forever.

“He was an innovator and set the standard for excellence in player acquisition. From the creation of the NFL Combine to revolutionizing the NFL Draft, Gil finished his over six-decade NFL career with an eye towards the future of the league and teaching fans about the sport he loved as a radio broadcaster. Gil was as good a storyteller as it gets, with a memory as sharp as a tack. His dedication to, and passion for, this game left a lasting impact on generations of Hall of Fame players and coaches. There are very few people that have been able to have the kind of generational impact that he did. Gil was as dedicated to growing this league and sport as anyone ever was, and we are all grateful and better for it. Our hearts go out to Gil’s wife, Sara, his son Hunter and all of Gil’s family and friends.”

Brandt spent several years working with the NFL, including an active role at the Scouting Combine and in the pre-draft preparation process, and was a prominent fixture at the Indianapolis-based event for multiple decades after leaving his job with the Cowboys.

“You can’t tell the story about the success of the Dallas Cowboys and their two-decade run of winning seasons from the mid-1960s to mid-1980s without mentioning Gil Brandt,” said Jim Porter, president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“His innovative approach to scouting and player evaluation helped the organization find players others overlooked. The result was discovering future Cowboys from smaller colleges, or even off college basketball or track teams. He is credited with advancing the use of computers in the front office of pro football teams, but the real computer was the one in his own head, where he stored an incredible amount of information that he loved to share with anyone who appreciated the game like he did.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 11, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the field prior to a game against the Houston Texans at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones on signing OBJ: ‘Every day diminishes our chances’

Jerry Jones admitted time is running out for the Dallas Cowboys to add free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the roster.

“As of this morning we don’t have anything. I don’t have an assessment,” Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 FM in Dallas, per ESPN. “The reality is though that time is moving on down the road relative to playing in the playoffs and so every day diminishes our chances of going forward.”

The calendar supports Jones’ statement, considering the Cowboys’ intention was to place Beckham on injured reserve as the wideout continues to work his way back from a torn left ACL sustained in Super Bowl LVI. The trip to IR would keep the three-time Pro Bowl selection on ice for four games, which means Beckham would return after the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Beckham, 30, has 531 career catches for 7,367 yards and 56 touchdowns in 96 games (91 starts) with the New York Giants (2014-18), Cleveland Browns (2019-21) and Los Angeles Rams (2021).

After hosting Beckham for two days, Dallas elected to add veteran free-agent wide receiver T.Y. Hilton last week.

–Field Level Media

Feb 13, 2022; Inglewood, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (3) against the Cincinnati Bengals during Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys’ interest in Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t waned

Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys remain interested in landing Odell Beckham Jr. despite the free agent receiver’s removal from a recent flight.

“His overall team compatibility, his judgment, his behavior is not an issue with him,” the Cowboys owner said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. “It is with many. It isn’t with him.”

Jones said Beckham is scheduled to visit with the Cowboys (8-3) this Monday, which is after three-time Pro Bowl selection is reportedly meeting with the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills.

“I think we’re moving full steam ahead,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said Monday when asked about the pursuit of Beckham.

Beckham, sidelined since tearing his ACL in last year’s Super Bowl win, was removed from a flight on Sunday at the Miami International Airport.

Police said Beckham was “in and out of consciousness” and refused to deplane when asked. Beckham’s attorney, Daniel Davillier, said his client was asleep and the incident was caused by an “overzealous” flight attendant.

Beckham, 30, has 531 career catches for 7,367 yards and 56 touchdowns in 96 games with the Giants (2014-18), Cleveland Browns (2019-21) and Los Angeles Rams (2021).

–Field Level Media

(File photo) Free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) grabs a touchdown pass against Dallas Cowboys cornerback Daryl Worley (28) in the second quarter at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones floats idea of adding Odell Beckham Jr. to Cowboys

Cowboys wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.? Dallas owner Jerry Jones sure likes the imagery of OBJ being fitted for a star helmet.

“Odell is someone that we have all the appreciation in the world for what he is as a competitor. I know the Cowboys star on that helmet when he puts it on could look pretty good,” Jones said Tuesday morning in a radio interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

Beckham Jr. is an unrestricted free agent and a familiar one to the Cowboys from his days wearing No. 13 for the New York Giants. His miraculous one-handed catch near the front, right corner of the endzone remains a popular highlight and happened against the Cowboys.

Jones was vocal about moving on from his previous No. 1 wide receiver in Dallas, Amari Cooper, saying his play didn’t match his pay.

CeeDee Lamb is in that role for the Cowboys after Cooper was traded to the Cleveland Browns in the offseason.

Beckham has been linked to multiple teams as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered during the playoffs. He exited the Los Angeles Rams’ win in the Super Bowl in February with the injury, but said recently he believes the tear took place before that game.

The Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals, Giants, Cowboys, Rams and others have been linked to Beckham.

It’s unclear when he plans to sign and take the requisite physical, but NFL Network reported this week no decision is expected until around Thanksgiving.

Beckham tore the ACL in the same knee in 2020 with the Browns. He joined the Rams midway through the 2021 season. He was down to two teams: the Rams and Packers.

He caught a touchdown in the first quarter for the first score of Super Bowl LVI and finished with two catches for 52 yards as Los Angeles beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20.

The three-time Pro Bowl selection had 305 receiving yards and five touchdowns for the Rams in eight regular-season games.

He has 531 receptions for 7,367 yards and 56 touchdowns in 96 games (91 starts) with the Giants (2014-18), Browns (2019-21) and Rams.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Cooper Rush (10) and quarterback Dak Prescott (4) before the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Denver Broncos at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones: Cowboys to test Dak Prescott’s ‘spin’ Wed.

Dak Prescott could get the thumbs up for Week 6, but only if he passes the spin test.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday the doubt around Prescott is whether he has enough hand and grip strength in his right thumb to spin the ball with the velocity needed to throw passes on target. If he can, Jones and the Cowboys should get Prescott back in the lineup Sunday with the NFC East lead on the line against the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles (5-0).

“He’s gotta really be able to spin the ball,” Jones said. “We’ll start working on that Wednesday real hard. We know Dak Prescott can play, but can he spin the ball?”

Backup Cooper Rush spun a four-game winning streak since replacing the injured Prescott. Dallas scored a defensive touchdown to down the Los Angeles Rams last week and improve to 4-1, firmly in second place in the division by virtue of a head-to-head win over the 4-1 New York Giants.

Grip was the issue for Prescott last week. He attempted to strengthen his hand and right thumb following the removal of a stitch left over from surgery last month. But Prescott couldn’t keep the ball locked in with his grip and continued in the rehab phase.

Jones said there is no thought from the franchise that Rush would remain in the lineup even after Prescott is fully cleared.

“When we get him back, that’ll be a real additive. We’ll be a mess (for opponents) if we can keep playing defense like this,” Jones said.

Defense has driven the Cowboys’ rise in the standings.

Dallas ranks first in quarterback hits, is tied for first in rushing touchdowns allowed (1), second in sacks (20) and third in points allowed per game (14.3).

–Field Level Media

Oct 2, 2022; Arlington, Texas, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) on the field before the game against the Washington Commanders at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys QB Dak Prescott can’t grip football ‘well enough to play’

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday that Dak Prescott’s thumb is improving but the quarterback still can’t grip a football “well enough to play.”

Jones made the comments during an interview on Audacy’s 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

“Well, I know that it’s better, and I know that he’s going to go out there every day and make progress towards being able to grip the ball,” Jones said on the show.

When asked if Prescott can grip a football now, Jones answered, “No, not well enough to play.”

Prescott is scheduled to meet with doctors later Tuesday.

“I don’t know that you could ask for better news technically, physically in how it’s responding, how it’s healing so to speak,” Jones said. “So all of those things are on go and I don’t know that as we bid bye to each day if considering the injury, considering the location of the injury, I don’t know that you could make any more progress. There’s some things here about healing that again I often say only the man upstairs knows how that works, but he’ll have a big week and he’ll be hard on himself getting it ready to go.”

Prescott has not been ruled out for this week’s game against the Los Angeles Rams, but both Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy want a full week of practice with Prescott before turning him loose.

“We need to have that process before we (go) in a ballgame,” Jones said. “Can’t eliminate the week’s work and be ready to go, especially not at quarterback.”

Prescott said last week he’s targeting this week to return after fracturing his thumb in the team’s Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He was projected to miss six weeks.

Cooper Rush has led the Cowboys to three straight wins in Prescott’s absence. With Sunday’s win, Rush became the first Cowboys QB to win the first four starts of his career. He went 1-0 in 2021.

–Field Level Media

Aug 18, 2022; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle Tyler Smith (73) and offensive tackle Matt Waletzko (71) stretch during joint practice against the Los Angeles Chargers at Jack Hammett Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys to entrust untested rookie at left tackle

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones resisted the urge to make a trade to fix the left tackle spot, anchored in the belief he has the man for the job on the roster.

Jones said the Cowboys considered all options — presumably including a trade — when they learned Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith would miss months with a knee injury. Moving All-Pro guard Zack Martin, a tackle at Notre Dame who has played left tackle in an emergency for the Cowboys, wasn’t a thought this time around.

That’s because Jones said the Cowboys ultimately settled on rookie first-round pick Tyler Smith, even though the untested 21-year-old has never practiced there with the team.

“We’ve got to get him out here and get him practiced here over the next couple of weeks relative to any issue he had with a little high-ankle (sprain),” Jones said. “But we don’t think that’s serious enough to limit his preparation. Now, what is the case is he hasn’t been there at left tackle. He is a rookie. But he’s a first-round pick and he deserved to be a first-round pick in my mind. And so we knew — we just didn’t want it to come any earlier than it needed — but we knew we had to get ready to replace our left tackle and he was the pick.”

Tyler Smith was projected to be a guard in the NFL by Field Level Media’s draft analysts entering the 2022 NFL Draft. He entered the draft as an underclassman and won with upper-body strength and raw power at Tulsa, but “athletic limitations might be exposed outside” at tackle, per the FLM pre-draft scouting report.

Dallas has had success turning out consistent performers drafted in the first round — Martin was picked No. 16 in 2014, Tyron Smith went ninth in 2011 — and Smith went No. 24 overall.

The Cowboys open the season at home Sept. 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

–Field Level Media

Jul 26, 2022; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones at training camp press conference at the River Ridge Fields.  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Jones: ‘I need to win’ Super Bowl, Cowboys must be ‘viable’ in playoffs

Jerry Jones stopped short of saying “Super Bowl or bust,” but the longtime owner of the Dallas Cowboys described the high expectations he had for his team when meeting with reporters Tuesday.

“Well, I need to win (another Super Bowl). I need to win it, but I’ll be candid with you, there’s degrees,” Jones said as Cowboys training camp opened in Oxnard, Calif. “I want to be fair to everybody concerned. We need to be in the playoffs. We need to be viable in the playoffs for it to be a successful season.”

Jones turns 80 in October. His franchise last won a Lombardi Trophy in the 1995 season, and the 26-year drought is the longest in team history.

“I told them I’ve got a birthday coming up here real quick and I don’t have time to have a bad time,” Jones said. “It ain’t on my schedule.”

After missing the playoffs in 2019 and 2020, the Cowboys won the NFC East last season with a 12-5 record before losing their wild-card round game to the San Francisco 49ers.

Quarterback Dak Prescott ran out of time to get off one final play before the clock expired on a 23-17 loss. Prescott later said the Cowboys “definitely underachieved, and it sucks.”

Jones expressed confidence in coach Mike McCarthy as he enters his third season coaching Dallas. The owner added that his team’s recent close calls “sustain” him.

“What you have is somebody that wants to go again and feels like we’ve got the tools to win it,” Jones said of his level of satisfaction. “We won 12 games last year. I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t get a little bit of feel-good out of those 12 games. I understand where our fans are. They should understand where I am. That’s not enough, but it’s enough to go again.”

–Field Level Media

Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones

Syndication The Record

Jerry Jones: Dallas is a one-team NFL city

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones wants to quash any notion of a second NFL franchise moving to his city.

Just last week, Mayor Eric Johnson issued a tweet inviting the Los Angeles Chargers to move to Texas following news of a legal squabble between members of the Spanos family, which owns the team. In his tweet, he invited the team and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to check out the city.

“Southern Dallas is the fresh start the @Chargers need! Several sites, including @cottonbowlstad and Hensley Field, would be ideal locations for a state of the art practice facility and world headquarters or stadium. We’re ready for the @NFL in @CityOfDallas!”

Jones isn’t on board.

“Well, I like the mayor,” Jones told the Dallas Morning News. “I like him personally, but he doesn’t have the depth. He doesn’t have the knowledge that others have regarding how unique Dallas is and how we enjoy the interest in the Cowboys. He wouldn’t want to water that down as it relates to Dallas if he knew as much, and has spent as much time in sports as I have.”

Jones bought the Cowboys in 1989 for almost $150 million. Before the start of the 2021 season, Forbes valued the franchise at $6.5 billion. The Cowboys play outside Dallas in the suburb of Arlington.

Jones doesn’t sound too worried about the possibility of sharing his city. He said it never would get league approval, anyway.

“You can be rest assured that you would not have the NFL supporting another team because of the kind of value that the game and the NFL receives of having (the) Dallas Cowboys as one of its marquee teams and again, logic tells you (the NFL) wouldn’t want to water that down.”

The only markets with two NFL teams are New York, a situation created by the AFL/NFL merger, and Los Angeles, where the Chargers have been second-fiddle to the Rams since moving north from San Diego in 2017.

–Field Level Media