Monday, February 1, 2010


I was driving around today when I heard the words "Jay Novacek" and "dead" in the same sentence.

As a native Dallasite, naturally I freaked. It turns out it was his wife, but that still leaves me quite stunned. I never rooted for LeAnne Novacek on the football field, yet her alleged suicide by a gunshot wound still feels like something big has been ripped away for NFL fans.

During an era of Cowboys football when players perfected the art of bad boy images and shameless self-promotion, Novacek was a quiet worker. He didn't dance, he didn't talk, he just got open. He went to the Pro-Bowl nearly every year he was in Dallas and became Troy Aikman's go-to guy when a first down was critical.

Cowboys fans loved him and even Dallas-haters had to respect him. He was one of the good guys on a team full of questionable characters. Defenses couldn't cover him, but you'd never hear him tell you about it.

That's why I still stunned by his wife's sudden and violent suicide. Out of all the players on those early 90's teams, Novacek struck me as a man with a solid foundation and a reliable family man. His wife's death may have absolutely nothing to do with him, but out of all the players to have this sort of tragedy happen, Novacek would by at the bottom of the list.

You never wish this tragedy on anyone, but it hurts even more when it happens to someone you admired as the epitome of normalcy. It feels like if it can happen to him, it could happen to me. And that's scary.

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