In the training room, defensive end Chad Hennings, a former Air Force pilot and current third-down pass-rushing specialist, stands in front of Gregory Dott, an osteopath. Hennings's right shoulder and neck are sore, and Dott is one of the many resources available to the Cowboys for making damaged bodies better.
Other rehab aids include an oxygen chamber, electrostimulation, massage, heat, ice, ultrasound, whirlpool, injections, weight resistance, water therapy, taping, bracing, strengthening, stretching, immobilization, rest and—when all else fails—submitting to that sharpest of sharp knives, the scalpel.
"Dr. Dott comes when I call him," says trainer Kevin O'Neill. "Usually for end-of-the-week tune-ups."
As Dott gives Hennings his tune-up, kneading and manipulating the deltoid and trapezius muscles, Chad's wife, Tammy, chases after their aptly named 16-month-old son, Chase. When he is done with his treatment, Chad, who flew an A-10 tankbuster, known in the Air Force as a Warthog, during the final days of the gulf war, is rewarded with child duty. Tammy goes in to see Dott, to have her own aching back worked on, and the 6'6", 290-pound dad scurries after Chase. Then, Dad senses that something is amiss. It's in the air.
He corrals his son and takes him to the family truck. Diaper change.
Midway through the process Chad wrinkles his nose, steps back and says, "Whoa, Chase...."
As Chad resumes the change, Chase starts crying, and Dad feeds him crackers to soothe him until the job is done. "I try to be Mr. Mom," says Chad with a sigh. "It brings you back to reality."
Fullback Daryl (Moose) Johnston, the human battering ram, needs some adjustment himself. A workhorse who has amassed a mere 558 rushing yards in his six-year pro career, Johnston, at 238 pounds, is the log that splinters the door so Emmitt Smith can raid the pantry beyond.
At the office of chiropractor Karl Foster, Johnston gets prodded and bent and stretched for 15 minutes, and afterward he rises from the table and begins to put on his shirt to leave.