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Cowboys award roster spot to reality show winner

While Mr. Florio works up an item with more details based on the civil complaint against Ben Roethlisberger, let’s switch gears to a much lighter side of football: reality shows.

I was probably one of the few people in the country looking forward to the finale of Michael Irvin’s Fourth and Long show on Spike TV Monday.

The Roethlisberger story got in the way, and the show remains sitting on Tivo, so consider this a spoiler alert warning for the six people that don’t want to know the ending.

Wideout Jesse Holley won the 10-week competition in a four man finale that included two receivers and two defensive backs.  He will go to training camp with the Cowboys.

Holley, a member of the 2005 UNC national championship basketball team, certainly looks like a pro. 

He’s listed at 6-3, 215 pounds, and he runs a 4.5 forty. 

Holley wasn’t always the most impressive player on the show.  Wideout Andrew Hawkins, who played at Toledo and in the CFL, made scintillating plays on a weekly basis.

In the end, Hawkins’ size (5-8, 165) probably ended his chances of winning Dallas’ 80th roster spot.

Irvin thinks Holley can compete in training camp.

“Outside of Roy Williams, I’m not looking at a guy that is head and shoulders above Jesse,” Irvin said.

Former Cowboys special teams coach Joe Avezzano, who worked on the show, said Holley can be better than some of the backups the Cowboys have right now. 

That remains to be seen.  Holley will be one of eleven receivers in camp and most spots are accounted for.  He will have to be a special teams demon.   

The odds on Holley actually make the Cowboys roster or practice squad seem slim at best, but that was part of the show’s charm.

Despite the grandstanding and over the top reality show production, the competition was essentially about ten men fighting to keep their professional dreams alive, if only for a few more weeks. 

The odds look depressingly long from an outsider’s perspective, but the players fought like crazy just to get a chance.

The show highlighted the huge subset of professional players on the fringe of the NFL, fighting to be camp fodder or get paid to play elsewhere.

They don’t play for the love of money or fame, but for the love of football.  And it’s hard not to appreciate that. 

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25 Responses to “Cowboys award roster spot to reality show winner”
  1. kabuji23 says: Jul 21, 2009 10:36 AM

    Florio. Watched every episode and the spot should have gone to Hawkins. He would have filled several needs for the cowboys, kick returner, gunner, punt returner, kick off coverage…and honestly I think hes an eddie royal type. He was amazing.
    anyway you can keep us posted on where he ends up?

  2. Diggs says: Jul 21, 2009 10:40 AM

    Holy crap, somebody watched that?

  3. Citizen Strange says: Jul 21, 2009 10:44 AM

    So much of Jerry Jones’ claim of doing everything it takes to put the best team possible on the field. 13 years without a playoff win doesn’t just happen by accident people.

  4. ShockAndAwe09NYG! says: Jul 21, 2009 10:47 AM

    The Cowboys went from the top of the league to the JOKE OF THE LEAGUE in a HEARTBEAT!…they are the biggest losers ever i swear!….GO GIANTS SEPT. 20TH “THE BEGINNING AND END OF THE NEW COWBOY STADIUM!”

  5. Bill In DC says: Jul 21, 2009 10:50 AM

    Just what Dallas needs is another 6’3″ 215lb+, not so fast WR with decent hands. They already have 2-3 of those, (Hurd) being the best (Austin and Stanback aren’t in that mix because they are fast, 4.3 area).
    BTW, anyone who doubts Stanback’s speed needs to watch the KO return TD Felix Jones had against the Eagles in the first Dallas/Eagles game. Jones (who has 4.3- speed) broke into the clear and was outrunning the entire Eagles squad. If you watch the replay Stanback starts out about 5 yds behind Jones but catches him near the goal line (he was moving faster than Jones) and was there to make sure the last Eagle CB (I think Samuel) was screened off from Jones.
    I don’t think this guy will make the team, but he could be a practice squad candidate. Never know tho, an injury here or there can change everything.
    If you can’t tell Stanback is the one I’m rooting for to finally break out.

  6. BK says: Jul 21, 2009 10:52 AM

    This is why I think the UFL can work. To get fan support, you have to get people to know the players (hence the countless hours of Olympics coverage showing home towns and backstory). If the UFL focuses on the stories behind these players who are on the NFL fringe, it could be scintillating.
    Look at how the Ultimate Fighter worked for UFC, creating stars you wanted to watch every week. Too bad 4th and Long got relegated to Spike too…the couple episodes I watched were pretty good, but the times were really strange.

  7. JAG880 says: Jul 21, 2009 11:01 AM

    If Hawkins was a couple inches taller and about 20 pounds heavier, he’d be playing somewhere right now.

  8. VoxVeritas says: Jul 21, 2009 11:02 AM

    It was an interesting competition if for no other reason than to see a few non-traditional training techniques being used, like taping a tennis ball to the WR’s palms so they’d learn to catch with their fingertips.

  9. ZombieRevolution says: Jul 21, 2009 11:09 AM

    “They don’t play for the love of money or fame, but for the love of football. And it’s hard not to appreciate that. ”
    Greg- nice to have your aboard the S.S. “Whatever Florio thinks” website. Its also nice to have Florio acknowledge the Big Ben story was yours. This site might actually begin to be more than Florio spinning stories originally generated by real journalists.

  10. tuscani says: Jul 21, 2009 11:46 AM

    Anyone else notice how every chance they could get they would zoom in on photos of Jones throughout the series? At the end they bring Jones out and I am surprised they didn’t have everyone bow to him ala Obama to the Saudi King. This show was less to do about finding a player as it was about PR for Jones and his saran wrap face.

  11. Bwa Ha Ha says: Jul 21, 2009 11:52 AM

    I thought the ‘girls got their TV juice from Cops?
    There are a lot of perfect playas for them on that show

  12. whuteva says: Jul 21, 2009 12:01 PM

    Loved the show. Thought Hawkins should have won the spot. Showed the most heart of anyone on the show. Could be a Dave Megget/Eric Metcalf-type of guy (hopefully without the Meggett off the field stuff).

  13. Marty says: Jul 21, 2009 12:02 PM

    was in filmed in the practice bubble that collaspsed?

  14. rayg says: Jul 21, 2009 12:38 PM

    I don’t like the Cowboys one bit. But this is a great story to follow this summer. Reminds me of the Vince Papale story from the 70′s era Eagles. Best of luck to Mr Holley.

  15. Abe Froeman says: Jul 21, 2009 12:39 PM

    It was a good show. But you had to know Michael was going to go with the physical guy. Holley won the spot in like the 4th episode.

  16. VoxVeritas says: Jul 21, 2009 12:40 PM

    “anyway you can keep us posted on where (Hawkins) ends up?”
    He signed with the Montreal Alouettes in December.

  17. sonicjizzmopper says: Jul 21, 2009 12:48 PM

    The show was compelling and the competition was fierce. From the start I thought the competition would come down to Holley and Hawkins. I really think Hawkins deserved the spot because he could really pan out as a special teams star. Neither one of those two really has a chance to stick as a starting wideout and Holley has virtually no chance of standing out as a special teams player. I would not be surprised if Hawkins winds up in a camp somewhere fighting for a spot on the 53.

  18. VoxVeritas says: Jul 21, 2009 12:52 PM

    “So much of Jerry Jones’ claim of doing everything it takes to put the best team possible on the field.”
    You find players where and how you find them. Some of the best players in NFL history were not drafted.

  19. VoxVeritas says: Jul 21, 2009 1:05 PM

    “If you can’t tell Stanback is the one I’m rooting for to finally break out.”
    Unfortunately, he’ll probably break his vagina again. Speed means nothing if you can’t get onto the field to use it. Dude’s had more surgeries (3) than receptions (2) in his Cowboys career.

  20. Gregg Rosenthal says: Jul 21, 2009 1:57 PM

    Good to see some of you guys watched. I too thought Hawkins deserved it. But Holley was next best.

  21. Jackal138 says: Jul 21, 2009 3:57 PM

    What a joke.
    The ultimate reality is that the Cowboys are going to have a lot of free time this January, thanks in some small part to Mr. Holley and in a very large part to the reanimated corpse of Jerruh Jones.

  22. Indyeagle says: Jul 21, 2009 4:17 PM

    Bill,
    Hate to nitpick, but Samuel will never, ever play on kickoff coverage. The last Eagle was Quentin Demps who was a rookie safety. Not trying to call you out, because I have no idea about the kids speed, just thought I would let you know who it was.

  23. Indyeagle says: Jul 21, 2009 4:19 PM

    The fact that they had to tape tennis balls to a mans palms to get him to use his fingertips tells me all I need to know.

  24. VoxVeritas says: Jul 21, 2009 7:35 PM

    “The fact that they had to tape tennis balls to a mans palms to get him to use his fingertips tells me all I need to know. ”
    Do tell, coach. Do you think that tip drills tell you the same thing? The technique was used to make them use their fingertips every time, and to see who could do it best. It was a competition, remember?

  25. StraightUp says: Jul 23, 2009 10:54 PM

    AwkandShaw…..I would check your stats bud, and if you look you might see the Cowboys lead the all time series against the Giants, and I believe they have gone to 8 Super Bowls with 5 Wins. I would check those stats against your beloved Midgets and then go stick your head in the mud.

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