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 ON MANNING LIST
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.
*Davey O'Brien Award (nation's most outstanding quarterback): Weeden.
*Rimington Award (nation's best center): Grant Garner.
*Ray Guy Award (nation's best punter): Quinn Sharp.
*Outland Trophy (nation's most outstanding interior lineman): Levy Adcock and Lane Taylor.
*Bronko Nagurski Trophy (nation's most outstanding defensive player): Markelle Martin.
*Jim Thorpe Award (nation's most outstanding defensive back): Martin.
*Lombardi Award (nation's most outstanding OL/DL/LB): Adcock, Shaun Lewis.
*Paul Hornung Award (nation's most versatile player): Joseph Randle.
Cowboys kicker Quinn Sharp is ready to expand his role from punter and kickoff specialist to adding placekicking duties, too.
And he appreciates the pressure that's involved in the latter.
“In other sports, clutch moments just kind of happen in the flow of a game,” Sharp said. “When it comes to field goals, you come in off the sideline. It's like a build-up to actually get to that moment. That's what makes that pressure the story. You're either the hero or the zero.”
“I would say putting in a golf tournament would be pretty challenging,” Sharp said, “but I would think kicking a field goal at the end of the game, there's definitely more to it than people realize. There are so many plays in the game, you can't just blame one person, but because of the aspect and the outlook of everybody else, that's just how it is.”