HARKER HEIGHTS — As shoppers blitzed Sam’s Club’s grand opening Thursday, Ed “Too Tall” Jones calmly delivered warmhearted, hulking handshakes and signed autographs for some 120 fans.

It was his first trip to Harker Heights, and he said the people here have been “very nice.”

Since retiring from the NFL in 1989, the former Dallas Cowboy Pro-Bowler has split time between homes in the Dallas area and Jackson, Tenn., where he owns a residential real estate firm, he said.

Jones, 62, recently started a jeans line, golfs with current Cowboys players, volunteers at training camp and attends events around the world.

“Other than that, just being a big Cowboy fan,” he said. “Life’s been good, and I couldn’t ask for more.”

The 6-foot-9 former No. 1 overall draft pick racked up 106 sacks in 15 seasons for the Cowboys, but he’s not planning to return to football.

“I’m always that 12th man on the field,” Jones said. “I love watching the Cowboys. We haven’t been too happy in Dallas without them making the playoffs in the last few years, so that’s disappointing. But other than that, I know them, they’re a bunch of great guys. They work hard, and the coaching staff tries hard, so it’s just a matter of time, I think, before they turn things around.”

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones encourages former players to maintain relationships with current players, he said.

Jones still remembers what winning Super Bowl XII felt like.

On the bus ride after the game, he asked teammate Harvey Martin, “Man, do you realize when we wake up tomorrow, we are world champions?”

“It was one of the best feelings of my life. It’s kind of hard to explain in words,” Jones said. “It’s a very special feeling to be a champion in anything. Not just in football, but in anything you do.”

Contact Brian Bradley at bbradley@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7567

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