Cowboys notebook for 8/31

Wednesday, August 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

IRVING – Coach Dave Campo doesn't like using a two-deep zone because it's a passive defense that gives cornerbacks deep help from the safeties.

As a starter with the New York Giants, cornerback Phillippi Sparks spent much of his career playing in that scheme.

Campo said fitting Sparks into the Cowboys' defense won't be a problem.

"We will fit the scheme to our players one way or another," Campo said. "Whether it's Phillippi or Kareem [Larrimore]. There's nothing we're doing that Phillippi hasn't done."

Campo said the transition should be smoother for Sparks because the Giants have been using more of a pressure defense the past three seasons under defensive coordinator John Fox.

Dallas did not sign Sparks, who will compete with Larrimore for a starting position, to a five-year contract that will net him $2 million this season to sit on the bench. The Cowboys want to use him this week against the Eagles, but they don't want him to suffer any muscle pulls or strains because they played him too much.

"We certainly want to be smart," Campo said. "If he's a guy who's going to be a factor for us in a number of games, we don't want him in a situation where he's tired and something happens."

Budget issues

Deion Sanders signed with Washington in the off-season, in part, because Dallas wouldn't give him the $8 million signing bonus he wanted. The Cowboys will spend about $6.3 million in signing bonuses and salaries to replace him on players to replace him. Here are the bonuses and the 2000 salaries:


Ryan McNeil
$1.55 mil.$450,000

Phillippi Sparks
$1.55 mil.$450,000

Dwayne Goodrich
$1 mil.$250,000

Kareem Larrimore

Mario Edwards

Charlie Williams

$4.4 mil.$1,976,000

Practice squad

The Cowboys signed tight end James Whalen, Tampa Bay's fifth-round pick, to the practice squad. Owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys also hope to add an offensive lineman, possibly rookie free agent George Hudson, to their practice squad.

As a senior at Kentucky, Whalen caught 90 passes for 1,109 yards and 10 touchdowns. His 90 receptions set a NCAA record.

Quote of the day

"The Redskins have been loading up all year for us. It's going to be unfortunate when they lose."

– Running back Emmitt Smith to the throng at the Cowboys' kickoff luncheon.

Luncheon awards

The Cowboys handed out several awards Tuesday at their kickoff luncheon at the Inter-Continental Hotel. Here's a look at them:

Tom Landry Legend's Award: Tom Landry (accepted by Alicia Landry)

Ed Block Memorial Courage Award: Ernie Mills

1999 Defensive Player of the Year: Dexter Coakley

1999 Offensive Player of the Year: Emmitt Smith