Mac Engel has a longish piece on Stephen Jones, son of Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has emerged as one of the most respected executives in the league.
For 18 years, since his father bought the Dallas Cowboys, Stephen has been the son off to the side. At 43, he’s the chief operating officer, executive vice president and director of player personnel, and he does more than people realize. Seldom craving credit, Jones has earned a respect that was slow to come and has established himself as something more than Jerry’s oldest child.
Because his father is so visible and his own role is by nature mostly peripheral, Stephen is seldom seen. His achievements are infrequently documented, cherished or criticized.
When the Cowboys signed Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith to good but not “great” contracts in a pre-salary cap world, Stephen orchestrated the deals. “People would tell you this, but the one you want to negotiate with is Jerry, not Stephen,” said Rich Dalrymple, longtime Cowboys director of public relations. “Jerry may get sentimental about things, whereas Stephen will drive the hard bargain.”
Stephen does contracts. He manages the salary cap. He brokers sponsorship deals and trades, and handles player personnel decisions and Texas Stadium issues. When the Cowboys decided to push for a new stadium, Stephen was instrumental in working with Dallas city officials before he moved on to Arlington. The same with the Super Bowl bid.
“Do I want credit? Sure, sometimes. That’s natural,” Stephen said. “I think you have to work harder and I think it takes longer to get that respect being in my position. But I have a peace of mind that a lot of [respect] is there.”
The team will be in good hands when Jerry hands the reins over.
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