Cowboys owner Jones clears the air over Barber

Jerry Jones took steps to clear the air late Tuesday. It was comments by Jones following Sunday’s loss to the Steelers that created a mini-controversey, when the Cowboys owner said he was surprised star RB Marion Barber didn’t make the trip with the team and wasn’t able to play because of a dislocated toe on his right foot.

Many took the comments as questioning Barber’s toughness.

“We all know how tough Marion Barber is,” Jones told news radio WOAI in San Antonio. “When he had his injury, I felt, look, you’d have to shoot him to keep him off the football field. So, I was surprised that we didn’t have him. That was not meant to be critical of his toughness. It did come out that way. Fundamentally, it was because he is so tough that you would have thought that he could play.”

Rookie RB Tashard Choice started for Barber in the 20-13 loss, rushing for 88 yards on 23 carries and gaining 78 yards on five receptions, but it was Jones’ comments after the game that caught attention.

“He can play with that injured toe,” Jones said. “He can play with the soreness, combination of those things. I see nothing that would have led us to believe that he couldn’t.”

Cowboys coach Wade Phillips denied the team questioned Barber’s toughness during his weekly Monday news conference, and said it was the team which determined that Barber couldn’t play. Barber, who Phillips said was slowed more by a calf injury that resulted from compensating from the injured toe, has a chance of returning this week against the Giants.

“He’s going to try and practice this week,” Phillips said Monday. “I know he’s feeling better. I think he will be out there or try to be out there certainly. … He can play without practicing, and he may have to do that this week.”

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