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Troy Aikman doubles down on criticism of ‘stubborn and steadfast’ Jerry Jones

Although Troy Aikman says he often considers whether he might want to return to football, he has stayed in media. (Charles Rex Arbogast/AP)
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Jerry Jones made it clear this week about just who calls the shots — all the shots — for the Dallas Cowboys. His former quarterback thinks that’s the problem.

Hall of Famer Troy Aikman, who now does color commentary on Fox’s NFL broadcasts, has been critical of Jones’s management, saying last week that the team’s problems begin “at the top.” On Tuesday, he reiterated that and said he can’t imagine trying to ride to the rescue as the team’s general manager.

“I doubt it. I mean, I think that’s a real long shot,” Aikman said in his weekly appearance on Dallas sports radio station the Ticket. “I believe that it’s unlikely that Jerry will ever bring somebody in that can help this football team in that regard just because he’s been real stubborn and steadfast in that he’s the one in charge. I think in a lot of ways, until that changes, this team’s going to have some problems.

“Would he ever ask me to come be a part of it? I think that’d be a real leap of faith,” Aikman said. “I don’t envision that happening, and I don’t envision it happening at any point, quite honestly, no matter who’s in charge out there.”

Troy Aikman says the Dallas Cowboys’ struggles begin ‘at the top’

At least Jones, who purchased the team in 1989, is up front about the situation, saying that the ultimate responsibility for the Cowboys is his alone. With Jimmy Johnson running the show and Aikman at quarterback, the team won two Super Bowls, and Aikman and Barry Switzer later won another. Since then, the Cowboys have gotten no further than the divisional playoff round, but Jones clings to power.

“Nobody can exchange a player, nobody can do anything unless I have approved it tacitly or otherwise,” Jones said in his own weekly radio appearance Tuesday. “Nobody can have the authority to make a trade or a change or deal a draft pick since I owned the Cowboys unless I approve it. Within the organization some people like a coach or some people like a player personnel director or some people like a marketing manager. They may have decision-making authority above people below them, but as far as having any authority to do that above them as it pertains to me, that has never been the case with the Dallas Cowboys. Never. …

“Nobody never has had the final say but me. Now, you really know I don’t like to say that. But that’s a fact. And so, when we don’t do good, we all know who the ultimate total responsibility is.”

So the Cowboys, a team predicted to be among the NFL’s best at the start of the season, are 6-7, alive for a playoff berth only because they play in the woeful NFC East, which doesn’t have a team over .500. And it’s highly likely that Jones will be looking to replace Coach Jason Garrett, whose contract expires at the end of the season. Aikman may be able to pass on the temptation to run the Cowboys, but he admitted that being a GM or running a team in some fashion was something he has “always somewhat entertained” despite his successful broadcast career.

“I’ve said many, many times, I still believe there’s another frontier for me — maybe there’s not — but I believe that there is, and I think that might very well be it. It’s something that I think would be very challenging,” he said. “I’d be giving up a lot to leave the job that I have to take on a role like that. It’s an all-consuming job, and I certainly recognize that, but I think the challenge would make it worthwhile.

“Now whether or not I’m ever afforded that opportunity, we’ll see, but with each year that passes, the likelihood of it happening becomes less and less. I understand that more and more teams want to go young and kind of groom somebody that’s going to be there for the long haul, but relatively speaking, I’ve got a lot of great years left, and I feel that having been in a championship locker room and knowing what that looks like, what that feels like, and then I guess my job now as a broadcaster, I’ve been in those organizations.”

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