Cowboys' owner defends one-voice approach

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones turned to the one voice that's allowed to speak for the organization Saturday: his own. Earlier that afternoon, he'd told local reporters they'd wasted their (newspapers') money by attending the NFL combine in Indianapolis and suggested he "might" be able to visit with them Monday.

But the most accessible owner-general manager in the league couldn't help himself Saturday night. It seems that he needed to get something off his chest. Last month, he ordered everyone at Valley Ranch to stand down when it came to "independently" speaking to the media. And on Saturday, he decided to take dead aim at some of the "misinformation" that leaked last month -- namely an Ed Werder report that cited two sources saying that Stephen Jones was preparing to recommend to his father that wide receiver Terrell Owens be released.

"That Stephen and I were debating about Terrell, that's just misinformation," Jones said regarding his son, the club's vice president. "That's just not accurate. I don't know where that comes from. That's just total misinformation. And the thing is that nobody would know that except for me or Stephen, and I know Stephen didn't tell you. So whoever else said that happened is just wrong. It's just speculation, as far as us debating."

In fairness to Werder, he never reported that father and son were debating the topic. He had sources telling him that Stephen Jones was preparing to lobby for T.O.'s departure. Who knows? Maybe he never got around to having that conversation -- especially after it was reported that he was leaning in that direction. And since Jerry Jones is the only one in the organization allowed to speak, we won't be hearing from Stephen on this topic.

The elder Jones also defended his decision to place a gag order on head coach Wade Phillips, whose dignity was left flapping in the wind last week.

"It's well known that relative to our personnel decisions, who makes that decision," Jones said. "All I'm trying to say is basically that's where you need to go to see where the status of that decision is. That's where you need to go. That's what we're trying to avoid."

I guess you lose any sense of perspective when the word "billionaire" is attached to your name. What Jones can't see is that he's undermined Phillips and his coaching staff at every turn. Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson and Bill Parcells all brought an aura to one of the most revered coaching jobs in professional sports. In a relatively short period of time, Jones has made the position almost completely irrelevant.

"Where I'm coming from here, I just want to make sure you're not getting bits and pieces of information," Jones told reporters in Indy. "That's not doing anybody any good and you're not making accurate reports."

As Phillips once explained after being grilled over a Pacman Jones incident, "Jerry will be out here with the facts in a minute."

Words to live by.