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Thursday, January 14, 2010
Valley Ranch vets: Seize the moment

By Tim MacMahon

IRVING, Texas -- There is no sense of mission accomplished at Valley Ranch. However, veterans are encouraging younger teammates to cherish these "precious moments," as Keith Brooking called them.

After all, who knows win the Cowboys will taste playoff success again?

The hope is that the Cowboys kicked down the door, to borrow a phrase from Wade Phillips' dad, with their drought-ending wild-card win over the Philadelphia Eagles. That was the first time any current Cowboy had won a playoff game for the franchise.

The message being sent: Seize this opportunity.

"Obviously, that win was huge last week, but I didn’t come here just to win a playoff game," Jason Witten said, emphasizing the singular. "A lot of people weren’t brought here just to win a playoff game.

"With that being said, the challenges are tougher and tougher as you move forward, but I think you have to take that mindset that, 'Let's move forward. This doesn’t mean anything to have one playoff win.'"

Brooking, a 12-year veteran, went to the Super Bowl as a rookie with the Atlanta Falcons. Now, he's trying to pass on the perspective to his teammates that an Atlanta veteran gave him on the bus after the Falcons upset the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC championship game.

"I sat down and we were on top of the world," Brooking recalled. "I looked at Morten Andersen and said, 'Man, this is pretty cool.' And he looks at me -- a kicker! -- [and yelled], 'PRETTY COOL? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! DO YOU REALIZE WHAT WE JUST DID?!'

"So a kicker actually put a lot of things in perspective for me, of all positions."