DALLAS -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson bowed to fan pressure Tuesday and said he will start veteran defensive end Ed 'Too Tall' Jones the next two games, allowing Jones to attain 200 consecutive NFL starts.
Johnson and defensive line coach Butch Davis decided earlier this week to bench Jones, a 15-year veteran, in favor of younger players. However, team spokesman Greg Aiello said that decision was reversed Tuesday afternoon in the wake of hundreds of phone calls from angry fans.
'We will start Ed Jones at left end the next two games so he can have 200 consecutive non-strike starts,' Aiello said. 'We got a lot of calls, more than 200, from fans reacting to (Jones' benching) and complaining and saying they wanted to see Ed start the next two games so he could reach 200.
'Some of those people who had tickets were threatening not to come if Ed Jones didn't start, so Jimmy (Johnson) said, well, we'll go ahead and start him,' Aiello added. 'He (Jones) will be at his customary left end position Sunday against Phoenix.'
Johnson, whose team is 0-7, shifted the 15-year veteran to defensive tackle earlier this month before deciding to bench him. He planned to start Tony Tolbert and Jim Jeffcoat at end and Dean Hamel and Willie Broughton at tackle, but now will start Jones instead of Tolbert.
Jones said Monday he expected to be benched.
'When Dallas turns it around, it will be Tony Tolbert, not Ed Jones, who is playing,' Jones said. 'This is the move they had to make.'
The 6-foot-9 veteran acknowledged that the new regime's attempts to turn him into a tackle were not successful.
'Look at me. I'm not a tackle,' he said. 'A guy my size doesn't belong in there with those stumpy guys.'
Jones has played in 216 consecutive non-strike games with the Cowboys since being drafted in 1974. He took off a year in 1979 to try professional boxing.