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DALLAS Have you ever wondered why the Dallas Cowboys don't actually play in Dallas?

Team owner Jerry Jones had an answer Tuesday at a sports luncheon in Dallas.

He pointed the finger of blame squarely at former Dallas Mayor Laura Miller.

She patted me on the knee and I said, 'Laura, I can do this someplace else, I know I can.' And she patted me on the knee and said, 'Jerry, I just believe I'd go do that.'

News 8 found Miller in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday, where she fired back with this one-liner: The only person I've ever patted on the knee is my husband.

Originally, Miller, a long-time opponent of taxpayers subsidizing wealthy sports owners, wanted the Cowboys to tear down the Cotton Bowl and build their new stadium at Fair Park.

I think it's a better win-win for everybody if they will seriously consider Fair Park instead, Miller said in 2004. It's owned by the city. We'd be more than happy to give them land to build a new stadium.

But Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price said Fair Park was a non-starter. He said it was too small a space for Jones' big plans, and the state law to finance it could not be used in a public park.

Price believed they could have come up with $300 million for a different Dallas location at the intersection of what is now Riverfront Boulevard and Cadiz Street on the edge of downtown.

But Arlington came up with a better deal.

Still, Jones told the banquet, we had decided to go to Fair Park.

He maintains the meeting with Miller was the deal breaker, even though his memory and the former mayor s don't seem to match.

E-mail greaves@wfaa.com

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