- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas – As Jerry Jones embarks on his 25th training camp this summer as owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, there is one former coach who believes Jones takes too much grief.
“I have a high regard for him,” Bill Parcells said during a conference call for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “He has a tremendous amount of passion for the franchise and I think the people are lucky to have him, lucky to have him as an owner, because they’re not all the same. I can tell you that. Having a guy like that and what he tries to do on a yearly basis there is great.”
Parcells was the Cowboys' coach from 2003-06 and compiled a 34-30 record in addition to two first-round playoff losses. When Jones hired Parcells the Cowboys were coming off three straight 5-11 seasons and were facing a vote for a new stadium. Many assumed the dabbling owner and volatile coach would butt heads often.
The divorce never happened.
“He’s a straightforward, honest guy,” Parcells said. “He really is. That’s all I look for. He was very supportive of me as a coach. Now were there things going on that occasionally I didn’t like? Yeah, there were, but that didn’t inhibit me from going to him, talking things out. He’s really great about that.”
Parcells and Jones talk frequently and will be able to get together this summer in Canton, Ohio, with the Cowboys playing Miami in the Hall of Fame Game.
In a USA Today article earlier this summer, Parcells expressed regret about leaving New England following its Super Bowl season in 1996 because of a falling out with owner Robert Kraft.
His final game as a coach with the Cowboys was an excruciating 21-20 loss at Seattle in the 2006 wild card round when Tony Romo dropped a snap on a short field-goal attempt. Parcells elected to retire as a coach despite finally landing a quarterback and having a roster filled with enough talent to go 13-3 under his replacement, Wade Phillips, in 2007.
He does not look back at his decision to leave Dallas with similar regret.
“I was at a different age,” said Parcells, who was 65 when he left the Cowboys. “To me, I’m trying to win the championship, and when you lose like we lost that game and I’m down the road coaching-wise and age-wise and quite frankly energy-wise at that time. I think about all the things that you’ve got to do just to get back to where you were at that moment and sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming. I just decided, you know what, that’s enough and I’m getting off the field, and this time I stayed off the field. I still like football I still watch it and with interest and all those things.”