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OSU notebook: Pickens checks in at practice

BY JOHN HELSLEY AND JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer,; Published: August 15, 2011

As the Cowboys returned from a day off to practice Monday morning, they were joined by a special visitor: Boone Pickens.

After shaking hands and chatting with several players, including quarterback Brandon Weeden, linebacker James Thomas and freshmen defensive tackles James Castleman and Mike Mustafa, Pickens addressed the entire team during a break from the action.

Pickens also wore a microphone as part of ESPN's project for its Year of the Quarterback series, which will include the Cowboys.


Weeden has been named as one of 31 quarterbacks on the preseason watch list for the Manning Award, one of several honoring the nation's top signal caller.

The award, celebrating the accomplishments of the Manning trio — Archie, Peyton and Eli — is the only quarterback award that includes the candidates' bowl performances in its balloting.

Weeden enters the 2011 season with a career pass efficiency rating of 155.42 to rank fourth among active quarterbacks, trailing only Boise State's Kellen Moore, Stanford's Andrew Luck and Houston's Case Keenum.

To date, several Cowboys have been named to various 2011 awards watch lists:

*Manning Award (nation's most outstanding quarterback): Weeden.

*Maxwell Award (college player of the year): Weeden and Justin Blackmon.

*Walter Camp Player of the Year Award (nation's most outstanding player): Weeden and Blackmon.

*Biletnikoff Award (nation's most outstanding receiver): Blackmon and Josh Cooper.

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