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Thursday, August 22, 2013
Alumni night part of Cowboys tradition

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas – One of the best parts of the Cowboys’ annual training camp practice at AT&T Stadium tonight is the number of former players on hand.

Jason Garrett has made it a point to pound the rich history of the Cowboys into the heads of the current players. Some of the youngest players were only a few years old when the Cowboys last won a Super Bowl with Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith. Most of their parents were probably old enough to remember players like Roger Staubach, Drew Pearson and Randy White.

“We have great history and tradition in this organization,” Garrett said. “We want to make sure that we take advantage of it for a lot of different reasons. It’s great to have those guys, to have the history and be a part of it, their own memories. But it’s also good to have our guys be around them. I think it’s a positive thing.

"They’ll be at practice and then we’ll have a dinner afterwards. Guys will sit down together and hopefully get a chance to visit and talk. Usually the linebackers migrate to the linebackers and the quarterbacks migrate to the quarterbacks. It’s just part of it. But it’s great to have those guys around and a part of our family.”

Jason Witten is entering his 11th season. He knows the alumni now, and there isn’t a player more respected by the former players than Witten. He still gets a charge from seeing the former players at practice and talking to them.

“I think that’s a great tradition that coach has done with bringing those guys back,” Witten said. “I think for a lot of the guys here, they don’t know who those guys were, and more than anything, they probably don’t remember some of the success that they had. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the support that they give. That’s a close group. Some of the best ever.

"Obviously, some people have a jaded opinion to it, but I think it’s the best franchise in all of sports. It’s a neat evening. The setting’s just special to be a part of it.”