Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL [Print without images]

Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Cowboys, Bengals to kick off preseason

By Calvin Watkins
ESPNDallas.com

The Dallas Cowboys will play the Cincinnati Bengals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 8, the Hall of Fame and the NFL announced Wednesday.

It's the first time the Cowboys will play in the league's opening preseason game since 1999. The Bengals last played in the game in 1988.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who had expressed a desire to be part of the festivities surrounding running back Emmitt Smith's Hall of Fame induction, called it an honor to be chosen.

"I really believe that having our players share in Emmitt Smith's Hall of Fame enshrinement should serve as an inspiration to every man on our roster, whether it be a ten-year vet or a rookie that's never played in an NFL game," Jones said in a statement.

Dick LeBeau, the Bengals' head coach from 2000-02, also will be part of the Hall's class of 2010. Smith and LeBeau will be enshrined along with Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Floyd Little, John Randle and Jerry Rice.

With the Cowboys playing in the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, it opens the door for them to possibly use two cities for training camp.

Cowboys officials have spoken with city officials in Oxnard, Calif., about the possibility of also having training camp there. The Cowboys have two years remaining on a five-year deal with the city of San Antonio, but they have held discussions with those city officials about splitting training camp between the two cities.

With the Cowboys playing in the preseason opener, it means they can open training camp earlier than most NFL teams.