Cowboys taking traveling circus to California

IRVING, Texas -- Even Terrell Owens will find it hard to draw top billing at this year's Dallas Cowboys summer training camp.

OPEN CAMP: July 25, Oxnard, Calif.

LAST YEAR: Their 13 victories matched franchise record and led to NFC's top playoff seed in first season under coach Wade Phillips. Had NFL-record 13 Pro Bowl players, including Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and Jason Witten with record-setting years. Still failed to win in playoffs, making it 11 seasons without a postseason victory after losing at home to New York Giants, eventual Super Bowl champions swept by Dallas in regular season.

IMPORTANT ADDITIONS: CB Adam Jones, trying to shed "Pacman" nickname and image; LB Zach Thomas; RB Felix Jones (first-round draft pick from owner Jerry Jones' alma mater, Arkansas); CB Mike Jenkins.

IMPORTANT LOSSES: RB Julius Jones; LB Akin Ayodele; S Keith Davis; NG Jason Ferguson; assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tony Sparano, now Miami's head coach.

CAMP NEEDS: Determine how cornerback/kick returner who wants to be formerly known as "Pacman" fits in after being suspended from NFL all last season, and hope nothing happens to keep commissioner Roger Goodell from reinstating Jones for regular season. With uncertain status of 34-year-old WR Terry Glenn (only two games last season after two operations on right knee before contract squabbles), need to solidify receiver spots opposite Owens.

EXPECTATIONS: A dozen seasons removed from winning their fifth Super Bowl championship, the Cowboys appear to have what's needed to end that drought. All Pro Bowlers are back and Jerry Jones is anxious for super return on his big spending of past few years.

There are so many other sideshows to gawk at when the Cowboys open camp in Oxnard, Calif., next Friday. As Owens has so eloquently put it before, "Getcha popcorn ready!" It's going to be a show.

There will be plenty to see with the Cowboys, whose bitter ending to a 13-win season in January made it 11 seasons without a playoff victory.

First, there is the player who wants to be formerly known as "Pacman" and doesn't know for sure if he'll be allowed to play this season.

How about the Tank -- Johnson, that is -- that Dallas got to roll out only half of last season after the nose tackle returned from his NFL suspension.

Roy Williams went to his fifth straight Pro Bowl last season, even though the hard-hitting safety often went to the sideline on passing downs. And that could happen again, especially if the Adam Jones formerly known as "Pacman" is playing.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is more firmly in place as the supposed successor-in-waiting for coach Wade Phillips -- who in his only season in charge so far led Dallas to its first NFC East title since 1998.

Plus, who knows, maybe Jessica Simpson stops by to see her beau, Pro Bowl quarterback Tony Romo.

With all that and more when the Cowboys open camp Friday in Oxnard, Calif., not too far from Hollywood, they have the ingredients for a made-for-TV show.

Oh, Jerry Jones took care of that. Never missing a chance to promote the Cowboys brand, Jones enthusiastically agreed when HBO executives wanted to again feature the team in the Hard Knocks series.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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