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Aikman Forced To Sit Sunday

Had the decision been left solely to him, Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman would play in Sunday's game at Arizona. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones decided otherwise.

Jones said Wednesday the decision to hold Aikman out after his ninth concussion was made Wednesday after three days of medical evaluations from the team's training staff and outside physicians.

"It's not easy, but look at it logically, it's probably the right decision, the smart decision," Aikman said. "It's just difficult not to go out to play when you feel like you can play."

Aikman admitted he was still having headaches from the concussion he suffered in the season-opening 41-14 loss to Philadelphia. He still felt that he could have practiced with the team and been ready to play against the Cardinals.

Jones and Aikman both said there was no timetable set for the quarterback's return.

"I'm hoping it's just a one-week thing and I'll be back after that," Aikman said.

Randall Cunningham, who the Cowboys acquired as a free agent during the offseason, will start his first game since last October. After an All-Pro season in 1998 for Minnesota, Cunningham started the first six games before losing his job to Jeff George and not playing again during the regular season.

Rookie Clint Stoerner was signed from the Cowboys' practice squad to serve as Cunningham's backup.

Aikman missed two games last season after suffering two concussions in an eight-day period. After a concussion against Indianapolis, he returned the following week against Minnesota, only to suffer another one.

"That is why there is some real caution right now," Aikman said. "If I were to have another one, it's the medical opinion I'd be out 4-6 weeks minimum."

Jones said while the decision was ultimately his to make, he made it only after getting the medical evaluations and having a thorough conversation with Aikman.

"This is an awkward thing for Troy to feel like he is able to play. He wants to play even with the headaches and feels he can perform," Jones said. "But no doubt this is the best thing for him individually, and the best thing for the team both short term and long range."

Even though he has had three concussions in his last nine NFL starts, Aikman said he has had no thoughts about retiring during his 12th season.

"My thoughts are getting back on to the field. I don't say that to sound naive to the risks involved," Aikman said. "I would evaluate that more at the end of a season or if the symptoms existed for an extended period."

Coach Dave Campo is confident in Cunningham, even though the 15-year vetean missed three preseason games and other work during training camp because of soreness in his right throwing shoulder.

"You're talking about an MVP from two years ago. It's not like we are bringing in a guy who hasn't played very many games," Campo said. "We're going to have a good plan for Arizona ... a lot of our standard stuff as well as some stuff that Randall feels real comfortable with what he can do, and utilize his abilities."

Campo said Cunningham, who is more of a scrambler than Aikman, had a good practice Wednesday. After Aikman was knocked out last Sunday, Cunningham completed 13-of-26 passes for 135 yards with one touchdown and an interception.

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