Canton Cowboy

Despite a run-of-the-mill reputation, Drew Bledsoe owns a Hall of Fame résumé

Throwing to Owens, Terry Glenn and Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten, Bledsoe has the potential to balance Parcells' "bus driver" shackles with his own fighter-pilot ambitions.

"If we don't turn it over, we should have a chance to win," Bledsoe says. "With our weapons we're going to make our share of big plays. We've just got to protect the ball. That starts with me."

Depending on whom you quiz, Bledsoe in the pocket is either skittish or courageous. He either stubbornly holds the ball too long or has unprecedented patience waiting for receivers to break open. The combination leads to alternating heroic throws and mind-boggling gaffes.

Says Parcells, "Once in a while he goes off the reservation."

Bledsoe has been sacked 451 times (fourth-most all-time) and hasn't been the leading passer on a 10-win team since '97. But considering the Cowboys' crappy cast-offs since Aikman retired in '00, his mediocre consistency instantly anointed him as savior.

You get the feeling Stevie Wonder will spot Waldo before the Cowboys find their next franchise quarterback. Before Bledsoe signed a three-year, $14 million contract in '05, the Cowboys trotted out embarrassments named Anthony Wright, Tony Banks, Ryan Leaf, Quincy Carter, Clint Stoerner, Chad Hutchison, Drew Henson...

With Bledsoe, the Cowboys still don't know the quarterback to lead them to Arlington. But they might know their next quarterback to wind up in Canton.

Cue the controversy.

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