OXNARD, Calif. - Troy Aikman and Jerry Jones walked together onto the practice field here in Oxnard on Sunday morning and then spent considerable time together observing the training camp workout.
The two Hall-of-Famers together is, frankly, a too-rare occurrence.
“It was good to catch up with him,'' said the legendary Dallas Cowboys QB of the franchise's legendary owner. "I haven’t been able to talk with him in quite a while."
A Q&A with Aikman (watch our full visit here) that touches on his sometimes-icy relationship with Jones, his warm relationship with Jimmy Johnson, the time the three of them - and other Super Bowl-winning Cowboys will spend together this week in Canton - and the leadership of Dak Prescott that he hopes will take the 2021 Cowboys to great heights.
On being coach Johnson's HOF presenter: “It means everything. The greatest honor I could receive is to have someone ask you to present them in the Hall of Fame. I don’t take lightly me going into the Hall of Fame. But it’s a bigger honor to me, personally, even than when I went in because that person can choose anyone they want.
"This will be the first time that Cowboys fans have gotten a chance to celebrate those teams that we were a part of ... Some of these players haven't had a chance to tell Jimmy what he meant to them. It'll be a big time in Canton.''
On Jimmy and the Ring of Honor: "He'll get in. I just hope we're all around to see it when he does.''
On his relationship with Johnson, a rocky one early in their time together: “Jimmy and I, we have been through a lot as well during my playing career and we’ve become really close friends over the years. For him to want me to be the one to present him, it’s the highest honor I’ve ever had."
On his relationship with Jones, still sometimes rocky: “Jerry has been a big part of my life. I was his first pick ever when he bought the Cowboys in ’89. We’ve been through a lot of good times. We’ve been through some tough times. But I’m thankful for all that Jerry has done for me throughout the years.
“Time heals a lot of wounds."
On whether his visit with Jones focused on football or finance: “A little of both. I don’t think you ever stray too far away from finance when you’re talking to Jerry. Or football, for that matter.
"I will say that some of my best conversations about finance and business have been from Jerry Jones. Nobody does it better.''
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On Jerry's opening-press-conference emotions: "As we get older, we all get more sentimental. I seem to be shedding more tears these days than I used to."
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On Dak's successful rehab: “He looked great. Every time I see him he gets better and better. I expect him to have an outstanding season. ... He knows ... it’s 100 percent and can hold up. He’s got a lot in there. He’s got some steel rods and a plate and everything else.
“He may break his leg (joking), but it won’t be where the break was last year."
On Dak's leadership: “I think he's the best at it. ... I put him in a category in a handful of players in this league as far as that goes. What he represents for this franchise, for our league, the type of person and teammate he is. I was telling Jerry when I was visiting with him that I really haven't been around many players, either as a broadcaster or as a player myself, that carry themselves the way that he does. I think the Cowboys are really fortunate to have someone like him representing the team.''
On Cowboys QB leadership challenges: "The challenges are a little bit different for the Cowboys quarterback because of the visibility and the expectations and coming in each season. But I’ve always said that I don’t know if the pressures are any more demanding for the Dallas quarterback as they are for any of the other 31 franchises. There’s only 32 of these jobs. There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of expectations that come with that. But when you’re the quarterback for such a visible franchise like the Cowboys, I think that you’re really under a microscope then, and you hope that you have someone that can deal with that part of it and still go out and perform on the field.''
"Dak has the perfect temperament. The perfect guy.''
On the Cowboys in 2021: "I think they’ve got a chance to be really good. I really do. ... Offensively, I expect them to be as explosive as anybody in the game. I know that last year’s defense was not that good and there’s some concerns there. Until they show it on the field, there’s going to be those questions. ...
"I believe that if the players that they have can play to the ability that we all know that they can play to, I think they should have plenty of defense to complement an explosive offense and win a lot of games.''