Football World is happy today because we’re close, very close, to seeing teams hit the field. In fact, if you count scrimmages, it’s this week.

Kilgore hosts the watermelon fest tomorrow night at 7 p.m., outside the field house on campus, then hosts Gilmer for a scrimmage Friday at 6 p.m.

Also this week, Sabine hosts Troup on Friday at 6; Overton visits Alto on Friday; and West Rusk goes to Winona, starting at 5.

Also, the Bulldogs’ scrimmage next week is Thursday night in Kaufman, not Friday, as I had reported, and my apologies.

Get fired up, people! It’s just mere hours away now.

Cowboys update: The Dallas Cowboys hostage situation – as in, they’re being held hostage by the contract renewal negotiations by their “new triplets” on offense – is ongoing.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott has yet to report to camp, although he’s not on milk cartons just yet. Wide receiver Amari Cooper has been seemingly the most reasonable of the group, telling reporters late last week that he just wanted to play football, and that he was letting his agent handle negotiations.

And quarterback Dak Prescott, who started the Cowboys’ first preseason game of the year last Saturday in San Francisco, is reportedly seeking a contract among the NFL’s highest-paid quarterbacks. That would put him a little north of $30 million a year.

Honestly, that’s unfathomable to me.

Here’s the situation: Prescott and Cooper are free agents after this year, meaning if contracts don’t get done, they can walk and play somewhere else. The Cowboys would likely franchise tag Prescott – a process the National Football League allows teams to do to hang on to better players, but only briefly, at a cost of the average of the highest-paid at their position.

Elliott isn’t even a free agent after this year. His contract runs through 2020, I believe, so it’s hard to see his urgency, although his point is a good one: he has had great production (when he hasn’t been in legal trouble).

Prescott is 32-16 as a starter for the Cowboys, and has thrown for 10, 876 yards, 67 touchdowns and 25 interceptions. Cooper had 53 catches for 725 yards and six touchdowns in a brief but effective run with the Cowboys last year, after they brought him in in a trade with Oakland. I’m sure not disputing their effectiveness. I’m not among those who think Prescott should be one of the league’s top-paid quarterbacks. I have been on record that Prescott and Cooper should get contracts before Elliott.

Cowboys ownership is trying to maintain civility, but you get the feeling watching Jerry Jones that he’s about as comfortable talking about Elliott’s holdout, and all the contract situations, as someone would be wearing shoes made out of sugar, standing on an anthill.

I predict the Cowboys will ultimately cave and somehow sign all three, and then be in salary cap hell the next few years. But I hope I’m wrong.

Coach Ferro honored: Many of you, especially the longtime Kilgore High football fans out there, will remember former Bulldogs offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Kenny Ferro, who led the offense when Kilgore won its Class 4A, Division II state championship in a 16-0 season in 2004.

Ferro retired from coaching duties several years back, not long after that title. But he remains on staff at KHS. And he made a special trip to Canton, Ohio recently for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductions.

Why, you ask?

Well, Ferro – a former offensive line coach at LSU back in the late 1980s-early 1990s, was invited as a guest of honor by former LSU and NFL lineman Kevin Mawae, one of the inductees this year. The NFL Network, carrying the broadcast, briefly aired footage of Ferro sitting in the crowd, as Mawae recognized him.

“Kenny Ferro,” an emotional Mawae said. “He was my first offensive line coach in college and he is by far the best offensive line coach that nobody has ever heard of. You taught me to play from the ground up, feet first. Just as my football journey has taken many steps, you taught me that literally offensive line play is built upon 1,000 tiny steps. … We were never just your players. We were always your boys. You taught me if you love your players, they will return it with effort and execution. The relationship was more important than the coaching. You were the very first coach that ever told me I had what it takes to play in the NFL.”

Well-said, and I’m sure most, if not all, of Ferro’s linemen would agree.

Make you feel old: Here’s something else to make you longtime Kilgore fans feel old.

My youngest, Ashtyn, who was born during that 2004 playoff run, the week the Bulldogs faced La Marque, is now a freshman at KHS.

I know, it’s hard for me to swallow, too.

She’s a good student, a Hi-Stepper and a volleyball player. Y’all, I may need you to check on me when she eventually begins to drive.

Antonio Brown: One more thing this week. I couldn’t let this go by.

Antonio Brown, who was once a sixth-round draft pick that blossomed into one of the NFL’s best receivers with Pittsburgh, continues to make his new team, the Oakland Raiders, Team Drama in the league.

Brown forced his way out of Pittsburgh with erratic behavior, recently somehow blistered his feet severely in a cryotherapy chamber (I’m always careful when I’m in mine), and just reported to training camp after arguing with the league about what helmet he could use.

I do understand his insistence on wanting to be safe and he had a comfortable helmet that the NFL has ruled outdated. But this guy – he with the 837 catches for 11,207 yards, and 74 touchdowns – isn’t just a few bricks shy of a load. He hasn’t even taken the truck to get the load yet. Look at the photo with this column, of Brown with coach Jon Gruden. Gruden looks uneasy even in that photo! Raiders fan out there, good luck. You may need it.

See you guys at the watermelon fest tomorrow night.


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