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by Mike Fisher    Tue, Oct 16, 2007, 09:18 AM
Jerry Jones sliced into a birthday cake. Michael Irvin issued a challenge to the devil. Deion Sanders made certain he was near a microphone. A good time was had by all at a private party for charity on Monday night. DallasBlog was there to take some red wine. ... and some notes.


“The devil hit me in the mouth,’’ Irvin told an audience gathered to raise money for Phoenix House and PlayMaker charities. “But now I’m gonna hit him back!’’

Irvin, recently selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, hosted a $500-a-plate dinner at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse. Money was raised to aid his nonprofit organization (dedicated to providing assistance and support to underprivileged children and those faced with the challenges of substance abuse and neglect) and to help the Phoenix House, a center to help teenagers with substance abuse.

“I feel I’ve found my calling,’’ Irvin said.

A number of Cowboy names, including Troy Aikman, Rocket Ismail, Leon Lett, Deion Sanders, Akin Adoleye, Eugene Lockhart, Chad Hennings and team owner Jerry Jones helped Irvin celebrate his Hall of Fame induction.

We pulled Jones aside to discuss the impact of Sunday’s high-profile loss to New England.

“It was really a low-risk/high reward deal,’’ Jones told us. “Not that it wasn’t a painful loss. Very painful. But it was non-divisional, non-conference. So as big a game as it was, with all eyes on it, it impacts us less than one might think. It impacts us less than a less-high-profile game against a team in our division. If we beat the Patriots, there is a reward. If we lose, we don’t lose that much. So we can really move on from this loss.’’

Irvin’s speech also touched on this more recent edition of America’s Team.

“In order to be successful we need to be more than individuals,’’ Irvin told the crowd. “You need to be a family. Our Cowboys teams became a football family. That’s what we had. And that’s what I think (today’s Cowboys) have again.’’

Sanders and Jones also touched on the subject of family in their presentations. Deion turned to Jerry and Gene Jones and said, “You are the family I envy most.’’ And Jerry’s passionate presentation – maybe inspired by a gigantic cake that noted that Oct. 13 marked his 65th birthday -- was a crowd-pleaser in that he made certain to acknowledge Michael’s loyal wife, Sandi.

“You can imagine the difficulties, over the course of 48 years of marriage, that Gene and I have gone through, but we have always worked through it,’’ Jones said. “I admire you, Sandi. And Michael? I admire you. You are a Pro Football Hall-of-Famer – and you will always be a Dallas Cowboy!’’

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