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Larry Brown stops by Cowboys practice, picks up pointers

IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett appreciates coaches and studies a lot of them from afar. Over the past few years, he has familiarized himself with SMU men’s basketball coach Larry Brown.

Garrett and his coaches have attended Brown’s practices a few times. On Wednesday, Brown was a visitor to Cowboys practice and spoke to the players after the workout.

“I can speak for myself, he has helped me immensely,” Garrett said. “I told our team afterward, he’s arguably as good a coach in any sport that there ever was if you think about his accomplishments. I think he’s taken nine different NBA teams to the playoffs, has taken a couple college teams to the NCAAs. He’s won an NCAA championship, an NBA championship. He’s really a wonderful guy, and he’s a really generous guy. We’ve taken our staff down to watch practice. We’ve become close to the SMU basketball program. And he’s been so welcoming to us. There’s just a real high level of coaching that is on display every time you are around him. There’s always such great wisdom about life and about how you can coach your team better. When I’m around him, I try to ask him questions and I try to listen to him. And he’s been very generous to me, to our staff and to our football team. It’s great to have him here.”

Brown said he took something from the Cowboys’ practice that he will use in SMU’s practices next season.

“I told Jason after, 'I got to do a better job in special situations. I got young kids, and you never want to put them out on the court when they’re not prepared to handle a situation they might face,'" Brown said. “So watching them and the attention to detail and how direct and honest he is with them, it made me feel good because I try to be direct and honest and hope the kids take it the right way. It was neat hearing him coach them and the way they accepted it, that made me feel pretty good.”

Garrett, Tony Romo and Jason Witten have attended a few SMU games the past few seasons as well.

“Tony loves the game,” Brown said. “I just don’t like to see him going to Duke games. Yeah, I told him that.”

Brown said he would often hear from Gil Brandt, the Cowboys’ longtime personnel man under Tex Schramm, and Tom Landry, early in his coaching career.

“He used to call me and write me, ask me if I saw any prospects that could play football, and I used to laugh,” Brown said. “Rico, he gets balls. He can rebound the ball, he’s athletic, he’s tough. I know he hasn’t played since eighth grade, but he’s got Jason Witten around, that’s a guy to follow and watch. I’m sure they realize that he’s a project. Any kid with the heart he has and the desire he has I’m sure has a chance.”