The Dallas Cowboys preseason game against the Houston Texans was canceled Thursday. It was the final preseason game for both teams.
The Texans had an opportunity to go home and tend to their families in the rain-soaked Houston area, so that’s what they did.
“They’d been told all along they weren’t going to be able to get back to Houston until Friday, at the earliest,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the team’s kickoff luncheon Wednesday at AT&T Stadium.
“But then when that changed and they felt like they could get there, I think everybody understands they owe it to the players to get back to their families. They have families who are in shelters and certainly we understand that.”
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The game had been moved from Houston’s NRG Stadium to AT&T Stadium in Arlington because of Hurricane Harvey. Fans who purchased $25 tickets will have the option of getting a refund or having that money donated to relief efforts.
Everyone within the Cowboys organization supported the decision to cancel the game.
“There’s more important things than football right now,” Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee said. “I think Houston being able to get home and see their families is a big deal. To me, we’ve played in a bunch of preseason games. Right now, I’m excited that they can get home.”
The next game for both teams will be their regular-season openers. The Cowboys host the New York Giants on Sept. 10. The Texans host the Jacksonville Jaguars on the same day.
The Cowboys would have been open to playing another preseason game before cutting their roster from 90 to 53 players, but feel they have enough tape to make the necessary decisions.
Instead of the game, the Cowboys will practice on Thursday at The Star in Frisco. Coach Jason Garrett said it would include some sort of “community outreach” to support those affected by Hurricane Harvey, although exact details have yet to be announced. After that, the Cowboys will follow their original plans in reducing the roster to 53.
“A lot of the young guys who would’ve played in this game tomorrow night have played a lot of football for us, so it is what it is,” Garrett said. “We’re not going to be able to bring another team in here and have a game. So with practice tomorrow we’ll do some kind of competitive situation and we’ll continue that evaluation and then make the final decisions.”
At the kickoff luncheon, the Cowboys seemed ready for the season to get underway.
Dak Prescott spoke after being named 2016 co-offensive most valuable player along with running back Ezekiel Elliott. Prescott mentioned a sign the Cowboys have at their practice facility that says something along the lines of “The only thing that matters is what we do now.”
“As I accept this award, the only thing that matters now is what we do in the 2017 season,” Prescott said.
Lee, named the defensive player of the year after his All-Pro season as the weakside linebacker, echoed those thoughts. All the players understand expectations are high for a team coming off a 13-3 season and NFC East title. Vegas bookmakers made the Cowboys the odds-on favorite to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
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“This team has had an incredible training camp,” Lee said. “We’re coming off a good year last year. Like Dak said though, we’re ready to take that next step. We’re ready to take this field. Attack. I can’t wait to take this field with this group of guys.”
Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin followed with a sermon-like speech about reaching the ultimate goal of a Super Bowl in introducing owner Jerry Jones.
“Obviously these guys have put in so much work,” Stephen Jones said. “As they said, that’s in the rearview mirror. They’re worried about the future.
“I am fired up about the upcoming season.”