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Jones lauds Murray, NFL tweaks catch rule

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, hustling to a meeting, said nice things about DeMarco Murray, now of the Eagles, and the league made a change in emphasis on the catch rule that still wouldn't have helped Dez Bryant in that playoff game.

PHOENIX --- Jerry Jones, phone pressed to his ear, was hustling between buildings at the Arizona Biltmore hotel. Jones ended his call and started looking for the meeting he was supposed to be attending.

Reporters tend to trail the Cowboys' owner wherever he goes, and such was the case here, especially since Jones, not paying attention to where he was going while on the phone, had wandered far past the NFL meeting rooms, into the area that only houses the media covering this event. Quickly, the scrum of reporters grew, as Jones realized the media workroom was not his planned destination, and asked directions back to civilization.

"I've got to find my meeting. Can't miss a vote," Jones said.

We all wanted Jerry to find his meeting, but we also wanted to ask him a few things as he walked, especially about running back DeMarco Murray. And being Jerry Jones, he was perfectly willing to do this, even while breaking into a near-trot.

"Tremendous locker room. Work ethic off the charts. Such pride in his work," Jones said. "He's a great player. I don't use (the term) loosely."

Asked about losing Murray to the Eagles in free agency, Jones said: "We're trying to help our defense in this free agency, so that was at issue there." He said the Cowboys needed to keep some money to sign other players.

Murray, the NFL's leading rusher in 2014, signed with the Eagles for $40 million over 5 years. Dallas apparently was offering about $6 million a year.

Meanwhile, the NFL Competition Committee tweaked the rules on what's a catch, but not in a way that would reverse that famous Dez Bryant noncatch against the Packers in the playoffs that brought attention to the issue.

Now, a receiver has to have both feet down and "establish himself as a runner" before losing the ball. If he establishes himself as a runner before hitting the ground and losing the ball, it's still a catch. Otherwise, he has to maintain control after he hits the ground.

The previous wording referred to the receiver needing to make "a football move," which VP of officiating Dean Blandino, speaking with reporters Monday, said was more subjective. But Bryant, stumbling forward and reaching for the end zone with the ball, would not have established himself as a runner, apparently.