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Bland wins weekly award, safety named Kearse insurance

DaRon Bland is having himself a very good week. On the heels of tying an NFL record, he’s now been honored with a league award. Now he’ll look to keep his hot streak going Thursday versus Washington before what promises to be a huge TV audience. Read on for a full preview of this year’s Thanksgiving Day matchup, from the practice squadder who could make his Cowboys debut filling in for a big-hitting safety to Dolly Parton’s big donation just before her halftime show, and why sleeping at home may be the real key to the Cowboys’ current streak at AT&T Stadium.

Meanwhile, Dallas is reportedly interested in ex-Colts linebacker and new free agent Shaquille Leonard, Troy Aikman has a surprising take on what the Ring of Honor actually means to Jimmy Johnson, and where Cowboys fans rank in a new anonymous players poll. All that, plus a look back at Thanksgiving games past – the delicious and the disgusting- that those fans have enjoyed (or not) alongside their candied yams and cranberries. Here’s the News and Notes.

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The second-year star was recognized after nabbing his fourth interception return for a touchdown in Carolina. It’s also the fourth time this season a Cowboys player has won one of the league’s weekly awards.

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The fifth-rounder showed promise last season, stepping in as a rookie when injuries hit the Dallas secondary. Now doing it again in place of Trevon Diggs, Bland is making his case as the team’s top cornerback. He’s not just a slot CB playing outside in a pinch. He’s a bona fide CB1 playing everywhere on the field, and ihe’s now making the case for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

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Jayron Kearse likely won’t play due to a back issue, and Rico Dowdle’s ankle will leave him questionable. They’re the only Cowboys players with a game-day designation for the Thanksgiving tilt. Washington, however, placed two players on injured reserve this week and ruled three others out.

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The linebacker has cleared waivers and is now free to sign a deal with any team. As expected, the Cowboys are among those reported to be interested, given the season-ending injury to Leighton Vander Esch.

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A visit from Washington has become a not-infrequent Thanksgiving Day tradition. The Cowboys have the all-time edge, but their rivals from the nation’s capital smoked them in their last Turkey Day meeting. The holiday series has featured some tasty performances from the likes of Robert Griffin III, Clint Longley, Roy Williams (the safety), and even rookie Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott.

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The music icon known for her philanthropy got the Cowboys’ annual charity drive off to a blockbuster start with a $1 million donation prior to her halftime performance scheduled for Thursday.

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Dak Prescott’s devotion to the bed in his own home is more than him being a good corporate spokesperson. The Cowboys are one of the few NFL clubs allowed to sleep at home the night before a home game instead of a team hotel. It’s working; Dallas has won 12 straight at AT&T Stadium. Head coach Mike McCarthy changed the protocol after last season’s Week 1 loss to Tampa Bay, when they scored just three points in a flat performance.

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Aikman had long been afraid that Johnson’s short tenure with the Cowboys was keeping him from the franchise’s ultimate honor. “For the longest time, I’ve thought that the only way he was going to truly be recognized for what he did for us, would be to go into the Ring of Honor,” Aikman said. The quarterback believes this accolade- coming Dec. 30- is actually more important to his former coach than getting into Canton.

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The social media platform formerly known as Twitter hasn’t gone completely down the tubes just yet. For instance, we only just now got an incredible collage of the Cowboy wide receiver, using only tiny pictures of compact discs and lambs… and one lion.

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The outlet got answers from 85 players. According to the respondents, the Cowboys and Eagles are tied for the team with the most obnoxious fanbase. “They usually think they should win the Super Bowl every year,” said one of them in describing the Dallas faithful.

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Twenty-five years ago, the Cowboys—who had won three of the previous five Super Bowls—got embarrassed during their annual Thanksgiving Day appearance by the Vikings’ Randy Moss. The Cowboys had famously passed over the rookie wide receiver in the draft that spring due to character concerns, despite a passionate evaluation from scout Jim Garrett (Jason’s dad). Moss’s three-catch, three-touchdown, 163-yard game was the capper to a crazy NFL doubleheader that day, after a coin-toss debacle marred the Steelers and Lions contest earlier.

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