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Deaths of Girls in Quitman Ruled Homicides

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:29 am

Liles_Thomas.1406302889QUITMAN (Staff/AP) — The deaths of two young girls in Quitman have been ruled homicides. KETK reported Thursday it has obtained the preliminary autopsy report on the case. According to Wood County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Alice Tomerlin, Gabriella Guerroro, 3, died from blunt force injuries and Natalye Price, 1, died from blunt force trauma to her head and trunk. Thomas Wayne Liles (pictured), 19, of Quitman, remains jailed on $25,000 bond for allegedly tampering with the case. Read more …

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Smith County Man with Reputed Ties to Aryan Brotherhood Escapes Deputies

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:28 am

CharlesGriffithPics.1406821600CHAPEL HILL — Authorities are looking for a man with reported ties to the Aryan Brotherhood who they say escaped deputies serving a warrant on him Wednesday. The suspect is considered to be armed and dangerous. KETK reports Charles Ray Griffith, 24, was wanted for possession of drugs and lives in the Chapel Hill Area. At around 5 p.m., the man ran from deputies who were attempting to arrest him at a home in the 15900 block of Dry Creek Road, according to officials. A K-9 unit was called in to assist in the search, but authorities say they lost track of Griffith after he headed into a nearby creek. Contact the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at 903-566-6600 or the Pct. 4 Constable’s office at 903-590-4871 if you have information on Griffith.

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Suspect Arrested in Counterfeit Case

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:28 am

Jalecia Ann WhiteTYLER — A suspect who was allegedly involved in passing counterfeit $50 bills in Tyler has been arrested on two counts of forgery of money. Police say she is identified as Jalecia Ann White, 25, of Tyler. Judge Jack Skeen set her bond at $100,000 on each charge. This is still an ongoing investigation, according to authorities. Officers had responded to Dairy Queen and Family Dollar on Gentry Parkway July 24 in reference to a suspect passing the bills. Police put out the word on the case this past Tuesday and later said they’d identified her, voicing appreciation for tips provided by the public.

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Reward Offered in Austin Bank Heist

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:26 am

austinbankrobbery062014NOONDAY – A reward has been posted in connection with the June robbery of Austin Bank in Noonday. In cooperation with the Texas Bankers Association and other sources a $15,000 reward is being offered for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of persons involved. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Smith County Sheriff’s Office at 903-566-6600. Read more …

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Miranda Lambert Billboard Vandalized in Lindale

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:26 am

mirandalambertbillboard2LINDALE — The Lindale Police Department is investigating after Miranda Lambert’s face was vandalized on a billboard. KETK reports police are searching for the person or people responsible for drawing a mustache on the face. The billboard is located on Highway 69 just north of Lindale and is used to welcome visitors to the singer’s hometown. If you have any information regarding the crime, contact the Lindale Police Department.

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State Sheriffs’ Association Recognizes Larry Smith

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:25 am

thumb_Larry-SmithTYLER — Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith gets some recognition from a statewide group of peers. According to a news release, Smith, along with several officials with the Smith County Sheriff’s Office, attended the Sheriffs’ Association of Texas 136th Annual Training Conference and Expo in San Antonio from July 26-29. At the awards dinner Tuesday evening, SAT President and Gregg County Sheriff Maxey Cerliano presented the President’s Award to Smith for what were termed his outstanding support and cooperation with the Sheriff’s Association of Texas and his commitment to unselfish service to the people of the State of Texas. The award states that Sheriff Smith is recognized by his peers as an honorable person and an outstanding citizen. Read more …

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Salvation Army Announces Emergency Veterans’ Assistance Program

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:24 am

thumb_salvationarmy-4TYLER — The Salvation Army in Tyler has accepted $150,000 in grant monies through the Texas Veterans Commission Fund for Veterans Assistance Series XIV-B to provide emergency financial assistance to prevent and end homelessness for veterans and their families. The effort is known as the Emergency Veterans’ Assistance Program. Salvation Army officials note that according to current national statistics, veterans are twice as likely as any other American to become homeless. The unemployment rate for recently discharged veterans is nearly 3 times the national average. In East Texas, according to the Salvation Army’s most recent Community Needs Assessment conducted by the East Texas Human Needs Network, 37% of veterans interviewed were living below the poverty line. 34% were living in temporary housing, and 8% were homeless. 71% stated that they were struggling financially. Read more …

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Police: Children Dying in Cars from Heatstrokes Is Preventable

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:24 am

thumb_police-longview-shieldLONGVIEW — Longview police issue another cautionary note on a problem we’re hearing too much about this summer: children left in hot cars. Police say safety should be first and foremost when it comes to children riding in child safety seats. Drivers should do whatever it takes to be reminded that there is a child in the back seat of the car, according to a news release. Police say parents should also lock their vehicles when they are parked in the driveways of their homes. Read more …

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Weather Radio Tower Out of Service

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:23 am

NOAA Weather Service RadioEAST TEXAS — All weather radios kick on when the National Weather Service issues severe weather warnings. But right now there’s a tower down, and KETK reports miles of East Texans are unable to receive those emergency alerts. The radio tower reaches multiple residents and multiple counties. But it was struck by lightning last week, making it unserviceable — meaning those in Smith, eastern Henderson, eastern Van Zandt, western Rusk, all of Gregg, and southwest Upshur Counties have lost their emergency radio alerts. This is particularly dangerous because in the event of severe weather, the National Weather Service would not be able to reach those residents. Read more …

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Divided House Abandons Vote on Border Bill

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:21 am

Capitol Hill3WASHINGTON (AP) — The House has abandoned a vote on legislation to address the immigration crisis on the border after tea partyers withdrew their support in a dispute over a separate measure on deportations. Speaker John Boehner issued a statement Thursday saying the House would continue to work on solutions to the crisis. His statement came shortly after the House postponed the vote on the final day before a five-week summer break. In a last-ditch effort to win support, House GOP leaders had agreed to a separate vote on a companion measure that would have blocked President Barack Obama from extending deportation relief to any more immigrants living here illegally. Conservatives including House allies of Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz wanted a tougher measure.

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Perry Blasts Congress for Failing to Act on Immigration Plan

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:19 am

Rick Perry2AUSTIN (AP) — Texas Governor Rick Perry has blasted Congress for failing to respond to the immigration surge on the U.S.-Mexico border. The House on Thursday abandoned a vote on Republican-proposed legislation to address the immigration crisis on the border after a tea party revolt minutes from a vote on the legislation. The revolt left House Speaker John Boehner no choice but to pull his border bill from the floor hours from the scheduled House adjournment for the summer. The revolt came after the tea partyers strategized over pizza with firebrand Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. The GOP fracturing dismayed Perry, a potential 2016 Republican presidential candidate who last week announced he was dispatching National Guard troops to the border. In a statement, he said, “Congress should not go into recess until the job is completed.” The legislation could have provided $659 million and made easier the deportation of children from Central America now flooding into the United States.

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White House Decries House Vote on Deportations

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:17 am

thumb_barackobamaWASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is denouncing an effort in the House of Representatives to block President Barack Obama from extending deportation relief to any more immigrants who are in the country illegally. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest says in a statement that the House is driving an approach to immigration focused on rounding up and deporting 11 million immigrants who are not legally in the United States and separating their families. House Republicans have scheduled a vote to prevent Obama from undertaking further deportation relief in an effort to win conservative support for a bill addressing the immigration crisis on the border. Obama in 2012 decided to defer deportations and give work permits to immigrants who entered the country illegally as children before 2007.

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Official: Dallas Will Not House Immigrant Children

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:16 am

Clay Jenkins-Dallas County JudgeDALLAS (AP) — An apparent decline in the number of migrant children crossing into the United States means Dallas County will not house up to 2,000 kids, as it had originally offered. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said Thursday that federal officials have notified him that they no longer need space in Dallas. More than 57,000 unaccompanied children have crossed the border into the United States from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras since October. But new federal facilities are being opened and the number of daily entrants appears to have fallen in recent weeks. Jenkins announced last month that Dallas County would help federal facilities overwhelmed by undocumented children. In recent weeks, he met with President Barack Obama and local community leaders on immigration and how to deal with the children.

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Detention Center to Be Set Up for Women and Kids

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:14 am

Karnes County Civil Detention CenterKARNES CITY (AP) — Federal immigration officials say a South Texas detention center will start housing women and their children who enter the United States officials illegally. The Karnes County Residential Center will start taking in immigrants on Friday after a three-week conversion process from an all-male facility. Officials say it can hold up to 532 people but how quickly it will fill up is unknown. The center is for families in expedited removal proceedings. Illegal immigration in South Texas has surged in recent months, especially children travelling alone and parents bringing their children from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Lacking enough family detention centers, the government has been releasing so-called “family units” with notices to appear before immigration authorities when they reach their destinations. The center is 50 miles southeast of San Antonio.

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Obama Lavishes Praise, Attention on Julian Castro

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:13 am

Julian CastroWASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama says incoming Housing Secretary Julian Castro works every day to live out the values and spirit of hard work that were instilled in him as a child. Obama is lavishing praise on Castro during an appearance at Housing and Urban Development Department headquarters in Washington. The visit comes three days after Castro was sworn in to the job. A former San Antonio mayor, Castro is a rising star in the Democratic Party and is frequently discussed as a potential vice presidential candidate in 2016. Obama raised Castro’s national profile in 2012 when he chose him as the keynote speaker for the Democratic National Convention. Obama says Castro is young and driven. He’s telling HUD’s employees that they can’t let their new boss down.

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Houston Man Gets 25 Years in Child Porn Case

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:12 am

gavelHOUSTON (AP) — A Houston man who traveled to Maine and took sexually explicit images of a 14-year-old girl he met online must serve 25 years in federal prison. Daniel M. Layne was sentenced Thursday in Houston. The 34-year-old Texan in February pleaded guilty to production of child pornography. Prosecutors say Layne used the Internet to communicate with underage girls and discuss having sex with them. The investigation began last year in Maine when a mother discovered a motel key card in her daughter’s pants pocket and sexually graphic messages on her cellphone. Layne’s home was searched last September. Authorities seized computers, a table and cellphones with images of the girl. Layne was arrested in October. Further details on the girl weren’t released.

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Texas Man Gets Probation in Revenge Porn Case

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:10 am

Philip Welch IngramFORT WORTH (AP) — A Texas man has pleaded guilty to seeking revenge on his ex-girlfriend by emailing out videos of them having sex. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Philip Welch Ingram, 28, struck the deal Thursday in exchange for five years of deferred adjudication probation. He pleaded guilty to improper visual recording and breach of computer security. Both are felonies. Ingram must undergo psychological treatment and pay a $500 fine. He can’t live in Tarrant County or contact the ex-girlfriend as part of the agreement. Police say Ingram hid a video recorder to film the couple. They say after the two broke up Ingram hacked into her email. He sent the videos to the woman’s parents, friends and employer. Ingram declined comment to the newspaper after the hearing.

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Two Plead Guilty in North Texas Prostitution Ring

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:09 am

Justice Department logoPLANO (AP) — A woman accused of helping run North Texas brothels that masqueraded as massage parlors faces up to four years in prison in a plea deal. Yu Lin Chang appeared in federal court in Plano and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the U.S. The Dallas Morning News reports Chang pleaded guilty related to prostitution operations in Plano, Dallas and Hurst. Authorities last year raided nine storefront operations. Most of the women working as prostitutes were from China or other parts of Asia. Quyen Thuc Ha of Richardson was accused of paying more than $300,000 in bribes to undercover officers for what he thought was police protection for the businesses. Ha last week pleaded guilty to two counts of bribery and faces up to 10 years in prison.

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Rider Gets 30 Years for Attacking Texas Bus Driver

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:07 am

Carlos FieldsFORT WORTH (AP) — A bus passenger apparently upset about North Texas traffic delays has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for attacking the driver. Carlos Fields, whose criminal history includes assault and robbery, was convicted Wednesday of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the 2013 incident in Fort Worth. Investigators say Fields, while on the Fort Worth Transportation Authority bus, loudly complained about traffic delays, swore at the driver and eventually attacked him. Jurors sentenced the 40-year-old Fields, who struck the driver in the face and threatened him with a knife, as a habitual offender. Fields also has prior convictions for criminal mischief, criminal trespass, possession of a prohibited weapon and harassment of a public servant.

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Police: Man Who Robbed Poker Game Arrested

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:06 am

Donald LeonettiSTAFFORD (AP) — Texas police have arrested a man in connection to the fatal shooting of a businessman at a poker game. Stafford police made the announcement Thursday. It’s unclear if they’ve charged the man, who they say killed Donald Leonetti,45. Police say the suspected shooter was one of two masked men armed with rifles who robbed the high-stakes poker game on July 17. Leonetti owned a Missouri City graphics company that made T-shirts. He and a dozen others had gathered for an invitation-only game in a shopping center. Police say the masked men asked the players to empty their pockets and took about $20,000. They say the robbers fired at least two shots inside the room. The second shot grazed the neck of another player who survived.

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West Texas Teenager Dies from Horse Accident

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:05 am

Ashley VirdenBALLINGER (AP) — A West Texas teenager girl has died after being kicked in the head by a horse earlier this week. A Shannon Medical Center official said Thursday that Ashley Virden, 17, was pronounced dead on Wednesday. Virden was riding horses with her father at their home south of Ballinger on Tuesday. The Runnel County Sheriff’s Office says the horse bucked her off and then kicked her in the head. A family member tells The San Angelo Standard-Times that the girl’s body will remain on life support so her organs can be donated. The family member says they’ve already found a match for her lungs and possibly for her heart.

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Family of American with Ebola Claim to be Healthy

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:04 am

Kent BrantlyFORT WORTH (AP) — The family of a Texas-trained doctor who contracted Ebola while working in Liberia has shown no symptoms of the deadly disease. Dr. Kent Brantly is in the isolation ward of a hospital where he had been treating Ebola patients on behalf of the Christian aid group Samaritan’s Purse. His wife Amber and 3- and 5-year-old children left Liberia days before Brantly quarantined himself after testing positive for Ebola, raising fears they may have been infected. Amber Brantly says in a statement Thursday that she and the children are “physically fine.” American volunteer Nancy Writebol is also battling Ebola in Liberia. Officials at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital said Thursday they expect one of the Americans to be transferred there “within the next several days.” Amber Brantly didn’t mention a possible evacuation.

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Fort Hood to Change Commanders Next Week

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:02 am

Sean B. MacFarlandFORT HOOD (AP) — The commanding general of the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss will become the new commander of Fort Hood and III Corps next month. Maj. Gen. Sean B. MacFarland has been promoted to lieutenant general and will succeed Lt. Gen. Mark Milley as the top commander at the Central Texas Army post on August 8. Milley has been promoted to general and will become the commanding general of the U.S. Army Forces Command at Fort Bragg, N.C. Milley has commanded II Corps and Fort Hood since December 2012.

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AAA: Texas Gas Prices Fall Another 4 Cents

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 2:01 am

gasprices4IRVING (AP) — Texas retail gas prices have fallen 4 cents this week due to high output from American refineries, balancing any potential fallout from world crises. AAA Texas on Thursday reported the average price at the pump was $3.37 per gallon. Amarillo drivers are getting the cheapest gas at an average gallon price of $3.27, while El Paso gas is reported at $3.45 per gallon. While fighting between Ukraine and Russia as well as Israel and Hamas have the potential to affect gas supply, AAA says refineries in the United States are reaching some of their highest production levels since 2005. AAA reports that domestic gas demand has also fallen. Drivers nationally are paying an average of $3.52 per gallon, 15 cents more than Texans.

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Dallas Traffic Signals Timed, Ire to Pedestrians

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 1:59 am

Dallas Traffic SignalsDALLAS (AP) — Pedestrians at most of the downtown intersections in Dallas are finding the buttons they push to get a walk signal don’t do anything. The Dallas Morning News reports that nearly all of the city’s 200 traffic signals function on a pre-timed system. The push-to-walk buttons don’t work how pedestrians expect them to because the signals change based on set time increments. The assistant director of the Department of Street Services says the city doesn’t need the buttons. He says the pre-timed signals are safer for pedestrians. Dallas switched to the pre-timed system when the vehicle detectors of its old signals stopped working. The old system slowed traffic and prevented lights from changing regularly.

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Pollock Exhibit Set for 2015 in Dallas

Posted/updated on: August 1, 2014 at 1:58 am

Dallas Museum of ArtDALLAS (AP) — The Dallas Museum of Art will be the only U.S. stop for a new touring exhibit next year of Jackson Pollock’s work. The exhibit will be the first in more than three decades to survey a phase of works known as his “black pourings,” a series of black enamel and oil paintings created between 1951 and 1953. “Jackson Pollock: Blind Spots” will open in Dallas in November 2015. Some of Pollock’s earlier works will be displayed as well to put into perspective the departure represented by the lesser-known works from the “black pourings” phase. The exhibit is organized by the Dallas museum and the Tate Liverpool in England. It will premiere at the Tate Liverpool, running there from June through October of next year before coming to the U.S.

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Reimold powers Toronto past Houston 6-5

Posted/updated on: July 31, 2014 at 11:39 pm

Nolan Reimold found out he was starting right before batting practice Thursday night. He made the most of the chance to play.

Reimold hit two home runs, including a tiebreaking solo shot in the ninth, and the streaking Toronto Blue Jays rallied for a 6-5 win over the Houston Astros.

Reimold was claimed off waivers on July 6 after he was designated for assignment by Baltimore. It was just his fifth start with Toronto.

Manager John Gibbons said the Blue Jays got Reimold and Danny Valencia for a reason. Valencia, who was acquired in a trade with Kansas City on Monday, had two hits.

“They’ve both played in the big leagues and had some success and they’re both going to help us out,” Gibbons said.

Reimold’s first homer came in the fifth and cut Houston’s lead to 4-3. His second homer of the season was off Chad Qualls (1-3) and sent Toronto to its ninth win in 10 games.

It was Reimold’s second career multihomer game and first since May 26, 2011.

“I was trying to be aggressive,” Qualls said. “I just wanted to be really aggressive with the fastball to get ahead. He ambushed it and hit it over the fence.” Read more …

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Rangers listen to offers, stand pat at deadline

Posted/updated on: July 31, 2014 at 11:40 pm

By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

The non-waiver trade deadline came and went Thursday afternoon without any late activity from the Texas Rangers.

The two most-mentioned players — right fielder Alex Rios and left-handed reliever Neal Cotts — were the subject of trade talks, but nothing of substance occurred to force a deal.

“We exchanged proposals with a couple of clubs, but it just didn’t line up,” GM Jon Daniels said in a conference call with reporters on Thursday afternoon. “Ultimately that’s Ok, we kinda come into it knowing a few things we were open to trying to do, especially where clubs are calling us. We had establish a level of value we wanted or we would just hold our guys. We didn’t reach that so we’re happy keeping the players we were asked about. We checked in on a few other things, controllable starting pitching primarily. The deal wasn’t there and that’s OK too.”

The only trades the Rangers made this month were sending reliever Jason Frasor (July 16) to Kansas City and Joakim Soria (July 23) to Detroit for some young pitchers who can make an impact down the line.

Boston left-hander Andrew Miller was considered the best reliever on the market, and he was traded to Baltimore. With Miller off the market, it probably affected any potential deals for Cotts, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning in Wednesday’s victory over the Yankees. Read more …

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Cowboys’ Leary taken off PUP

Posted/updated on: July 31, 2014 at 11:43 pm

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

OXNARD, Calif. — Left guard Ronald Leary was taken off the physically unable to perform list Thursday morning and could be a full participant in practice as soon as Saturday.

Leary went through the morning walkthrough, working with the second-team offense, and will take part in individual drills during the Thursday afternoon practice. Head coach Jason Garrett said Leary, who strained his hamstring during the player-organized conditioning run before training camp, would then be evaluated to determine whether he is ready to do team drills after the off day.

After starting all 16 games last season, Leary will have to beat out Mackenzy Bernadeau to keep his starting job. They are competing for that spot after the Dallas Cowboys drafted Zack Martin in the first round and plugged him in at right guard, where Bernadeau started most of last season.

The fact that Leary has yet to practice during training camp doesn’t help his cause, but Garrett made it clear that he still expects a strong competition to unfold for the starting job at left guard.

“Ron’s played a lot of football for us,” Garrett said. “He’s still a young player who’s played a lot of snaps, so it’s disappointing that he hasn’t been able to get them this first week of camp, but he’ll be back out there. There’s a lot of football to be played before this preseason game and really throughout this preseason, so there’s plenty of opportunity for him to show up in this competition.” Read more …

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Cowboys LT Smith inks $110M deal

Posted/updated on: July 31, 2014 at 11:42 pm

By Todd Archer | ESPN.com

OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys have signed Pro Bowl offensive tackle Tyron Smith to an eight-year extension through 2023, making the total value of his contract worth nearly $110 million, according to multiple sources.

Smith, who the Cowboys view as a cornerstone of their future, is guaranteed $40 million and will receive a $10 million signing bonus, according to sources. He had two years remaining on his previous contract after the Cowboys picked up the fifth-year option of his rookie deal in the spring.

“Late last week, the Cowboys approached me with a deal I told my agents I wanted to sign,” Smith said in a statement released by his marketing firm. “My agents explained the pros and cons of this deal versus one that may be shorter term and/or higher guarantee. After careful consideration, I decided this long term deal was exactly what I wanted.

“Over the past three years, the Cowboys organization and Jones Family have helped me through trying times and I felt this was my opportunity to return the gratitude. I am beyond grateful for the Cowboys staff, my teammates, and the fans, and wanted to ensure I was locked in as a ‘Cowboy for Life.’ I want to thank everyone for their support and look forward to having a star on my helmet for the remainder of my career.” Read more …

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Irvin, Newton to advise Brent on comeback

Posted/updated on: July 31, 2014 at 11:41 pm

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

OXNARD, Calif. — A couple of high-profile former Dallas Cowboys with controversial pasts will serve as members of Josh Brent’s unofficial advisory committee as the defensive tackle attempts to make a comeback with the team.

Michael Irvin and Nate Newton, who are known for their starring roles on the Cowboys’ three Super Bowl title teams in the 1990s and various off-field incidents, offered to be part of Brent’s support system after his December 2012 arrest on intoxication manslaughter charges stemming from the crash that killed friend and teammate Jerry Brown Jr.

Brent, who retired before the 2013 season, will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell next week and hopes to resume his career with the Cowboys. He was released Tuesday from an addiction rehabilitation system, where he was allowed to serve the end of a jail sentence.

“All you can do is give him support and try to direct him in the right way,” said Newton, who served prison time on marijuana charges after his NFL career was over and now works in the Dallas media. “Let him know that what he’s doing is a great thing and can only benefit him and the Cowboys alike. I’m a realist, man. Don’t get caught up in, ‘We love you.’ Get caught up in, ‘I’ve got a second chance. Do I love myself?’ That’s who you’ve got to love.

“If you love and respect yourself, then the Cowboys are going to benefit. If you don’t love and respect yourself, the first person that’s going down is you. For the Cowboys, you’re just another story. Unfortunately, it can be a sad story. Or it can be a great story.” Read more …

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Stephen Jones: ‘Working hard’ on Dez deal

Posted/updated on: July 31, 2014 at 12:23 pm

By Tim MacMahon | ESPNDallas.com

OXNARD, Calif. – Left tackle Tyron Smith’s $110 million contract extension has no impact on the Dallas Cowboys’ negotiations with Dez Bryant.

The Cowboys have long hoped to reach long-term extensions with their two premier young talents before their rookie deals for Smith and Bryant expire after this season. They are halfway there after Smith signed to become the highest-paid left tackle in the league.

The Cowboys consider it a matter of when, not if, they lock up Bryant to a long-term deal.

“It wouldn’t have surprised me if Dez would have gotten done first,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “We’re working hard to do something with Dez. We’re totally committed to make Dez a Cowboy for life as well. Certainly in our plans from Day 1 when we started figuring out our cap this year was to figure out a way to get Dez and Tyron extended.”

Sources told ESPNDallas.com that Bryant and the Cowboys were not close to a deal when the team reported to training camp last week. Jones declined to say Wednesday whether he thought the team could reach a deal with Bryant, who is due to make $1.78 million this season, before the beginning of the regular season.

“I don’t guess on when things get done. I’m positive about it, but I don’t guess when things might get done.”

Jones said it was “fair” for Smith to ask to be the league’s highest-paid left tackle. That’s what it took to sign Smith this summer.

Bryant believes he deserves to be ranked among the top five highest-paid receivers, putting him in the $12 million per year range, which would be the cost of using the franchise tag to keep him next season. Jones declined comment when asked if that was a fair request, citing a policy to not comment on negotiations until they’re done.

“It feels good to know that things are being talked about, but I’m going to let it take care of itself,” Bryant told ESPNDallas.com last week. “I feel like as long as I take care of business on that field, the rest will be taken care of.”

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Josh Brent aims to return to NFL

Posted/updated on: July 31, 2014 at 12:26 pm

By Adam Schefter | ESPN

Former Cowboys defensive tackle Josh Brent will meet with commissioner Roger Goodell by the end of next week, if not sooner, in an effort to gain re-entry to the NFL, according to his agent Peter Schaffer.

Brent was released from a Dallas addiction rehabilitation facility Tuesday.

Brent retired prior to the 2013 season and prior to the trial that convicted him of intoxication manslaughter for the December 2012 crash that killed his friend and Cowboys teammate Jerry Brown Jr.

“There are a lot of bridges that had to be crossed to get to this point and there still are bridges that have to be crossed now,” Schaffer said.

“But I do believe he is a much mature and aware individual. He’ll be a better player and person. He’ll be playing with a sense of purpose for Jerry’s family, and people will see he deserves a second chance.”

Schaffer said there were multiple requirements for Brent to get to this point. He had to spend close to 45 days at the Enter Health Facility in the Dallas area, where Brent built up a support system that still is helping rehabilitate him.

Brent also went to the Brown family to get their blessing on resuming his NFL career, and Schaffer said they happily extended it. Brent officially filed for reinstatement Tuesday.

Now Brent needs Goodell to be comfortable reinstating him, and the Cowboys must determine whether they want to bring him back to their roster. There is no timetable for when Goodell will make a decision.

Dallas owner and general manager Jerry Jones, who has been consistent in his support of Brent, said he did not want to “look presumptuous” by stating an intention to re-sign the defensive tackle before the commissioner makes a ruling.

However, Jones has made it clear the Cowboys would seriously consider giving Brent a chance to resume his football career, a stance Jones reiterated Wednesday.

“He has played at a level before that would help us, yes, and obviously we’re trying to build this defensive line,” Jones said. “I know that one thing for sure, he is contrite, and I know he feels one of the best ways to pay his debt to what he feels to the family is to do what he does the best and that is be a football player. He’s got it to do, but talking with him, there is a lot of resolve there.”

Jones has said he believes Brent deserves another chance to play in the NFL, whether it’s with the Cowboys or another team. Jones added Wednesday that a story of Brent’s redemption could serve as an example for others.

“I think that the pluses are that he’s had an experience and been through something that will make or break his life,” Jones said. “There’s a whole bunch of where he goes from here relative to what he’s been through. He can be a great example. There’s no place like the NFL to rehab your credibility or show that you are contrite.

“It’s a great opportunity for him under the circumstances to have made the mistake that he made to do some real good, help a lot of people and basically leave a better taste in people’s mouths about Josh Brent.”

Information from ESPNDallas.com’s Tim MacMahon was used in this report.

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Holland strikes out four in rehab start

Posted/updated on: July 31, 2014 at 12:24 pm

By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

ARLNGTON, Texas — Texas Rangers left-hander Derek Holland is moving closer to a return to the majors following microfracture surgery on his left knee after he pitched two innings for Double-A Frisco against Midland on Wednesday night.

Holland did not give up a run, struck out four and walked two in the 33-pitch outing.

It was Holland’s first appearance in a game since Sept. 28, 2013 when he earned a victory over the Los Angeles Angles. Holland finished the 2013 season on a two-game win streak and had a 10-9 mark with a 3.42 ERA overall.

He was projected as the No. 2 starter behind Yu Darvish coming into the 2014 season. But Holland suffered a freak accident in his home when he tripped over his dog on the stairs, which caused the injury.

Holland has done numerous bullpen sessions after the surgery yet his inability to field his position smoothly has given the Rangers pause from putting him in a live game.

Holland, who will wear a knee brace, is hopeful for a return to the Rangers’ rotation in the last two months of the season.

The next rehab appearance for Holland hasn’t been determined.

Update: Holland, who said his knee felt “great” could pitch again on Monday. Frisco is off that day but Triple-A Round Rock has a double-header Monday.

“I think it was just trying to get out there and get into the swing of things,” Holland said. “Very excited a lot of adrenalin flowing but the main thing is I want to execute my pitches. I felt like overall, a couple of bad walks but for the most part, I’m feeling really good about being out there.”

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