Before his 23rd Thanksgiving with ‘Boys, Werder preps for family Turkey Tuesday

SportsCenter NFL game coverage with all the fixings

ESPN reporters and producers covering Thursday’s Thanksgiving Day NFL games for SportsCenter:

Eagles at Lions
Reporter Britt McHenry with producer Charlie Moynihan

Panthers at Cowboys
Reporter Ed Werder with producer Shawn Fitzgerald

Bears at Packers
Reporter Bob Holtzman with producer Eric Lundsten

Thanksgiving always comes early for NFL reporter Ed Werder.

Now in his 18th year with ESPN, the company’s Dallas-based NFL Insider – who previously worked for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (1989) and Dallas Morning News (1992-96) – estimates that he has covered 22 Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day games through the years.

With yet another holiday assignment this week, covering the Panthers-Cowboys game on Thursday, Werder speaks with Front Row about his Thanksgiving tradition and what he is particularly thankful for this year.

How do you celebrate Thanksgiving?
We used to have it at a traditional dinner time on Thanksgiving. And, for a while we moved it to lunch. Then, the schedule became such with pregame live shots that the whole day had to be devoted to work. We’ve now moved it to Tuesday. So, we have Thanksgiving 48 hours before everyone else. We have our kids, and this one will be the first with our grandson, baby Henry. They all come over. My wife, Jill, cooks. She does a magnificent job and the kids still look forward to it all year long.

What’s your favorite dish?
I love the turkey but the chocolate pies are tough to beat. Jill makes some pies and other dishes – stuffing, mashed potatoes, salad, etc. – and we actually get creamed corn from a local restaurant named Babe’s. It’s that good! Jill cooks for like a week and we eat it in 20 minutes.

Do the Cowboys do a special Thanksgiving meal for media covering the game?

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory covering the Cowboys?
A friend and I went and ran a Turkey Trot. I’m not a runner, but I ran the whole eight miles and then I went and covered the game – and it was the Leon Lett game [in 1993] where he slid into the ball on an icy field against the [Miami] Dolphins. The Cowboys lost the game and everybody thought [head coach] Jimmy Johnson would cut him the next day. Jimmy was very forthright and committed to Leon because he knew he would be a great player – that he wouldn’t just be known for that.
Yes, they’ve had a traditional Thanksgiving meal in the press box. [Cowboys owner] Jerry [Jones] has always provided a nice meal. They do the traditional turkey, pumpkin pie and whipped potatoes. So, I actually get Thanksgiving twice – once at home and once at the press box.

You have been very open about your daughter, Christie, and son-in-law, Trey – how both have battled very serious illnesses. What thoughts do you have about them this Thanksgiving and about the outpouring of support you have received from others?
That’s a natural day when you’d be thankful for all the support and articulate that at the table, definitely. We’re thankful that Trey has made it to another Thanksgiving. And hope we can do it again next year and for many years following that. We’ll definitely express our gratitude at the table with that being the No. 1 thing.

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