After a season with quiet, humble wide receivers on the roster, the Dallas Cowboys were due for a little media attention.
It looks as if rookie Dez Bryant will fit nicely into the loud-mouthed tradition that had been established by his Cowboy predecessors such as Michael Irvin, Keyshawn Johnson and Terrell Owens. If nothing else, the Oklahoma State standout has clearly expressed that he has the confidence to be the next big thing in Texas.
America’s Team held training camp workouts this weekend. And on Sunday, the 24th selection in this year’s draft refused to carry his teammates’ pads into the locker room. Such a ritual is customarily the tradition across the NFL, but Bryant would not carry Roy Williams’ gear and had this to say about it:
“I’m not doing it. I feel like I was drafted to play football, not carry another player’s pads. I just feel like I’m here to play football. I’m here to try to help win a championship, not carry another man’s pads. I’m not saying that out of disrespect.”
What Bryant said makes sense to me – especially since he will be putting Williams on the sidelines sometime in the near future. And what did Williams have to say?
“No matter if you’re a No. 1 pick or the 7,000th pick, you’ve still got to do something when you’re a rookie. He’s kind of ornery right now. He doesn’t want to carry the pads and we should take them in the locker room. We might have to go to Step 2.”
“I’ve seen guys take people’s credit cards and go fill up their cards and wives’ cards. There’s a lot of dirt that goes on in the locker room.”
“Step 2″ would involve Williams becoming a cheerleader on the sidelines.
Williams’ production was pitiful considering he was the seventh overall pick in the (2004) draft. Last season, he caught 38 passes for 596 yards. Or to put it another way, he managed about two-and-a-half receptions and 40 yards a game.
That’s right – 40 yards – as in the distance that most wideouts can run in less than 4.5 seconds.
Now, don’t get me wrong – - I have respect for the veterans in any sport. But we’re talking about Roy Williams. And if you thought last season’s numbers were bad, consider the fact that he had the budding Miles Austin playing alongside him. Austin drew lots of attention, so it should have been that much easier for Williams to step up last season. Also, 2009 was his best season in three years with Dallas (how sad is that?). Over the span of his first two years with the team (totaling 15 games – the same total he played last season), he caught 36 balls for 430 yards. Imagine that…last year’s number were actually an improvement.
So, pardon Dez for not wanting to buddy-up with Williams. The circumstance here is that he is in a heated battle for a starting spot with the incumbent starter. It’s not Bryant’s fault that he is a rookie – and at worst, the second-best receiver on the team.
While the pad-carrying is tradition, it’s also a symbol that Bryant would need to put in his time to become more like Williams.
Well, if for no other reason, credit Bryant for that one thing. He is aware that such a thing would be an enormous tragedy.