On Thursday we were praising Dez Bryant for becoming the first first-round pick to sign a deal and get into camp. On Saturday we were talking about how Dez Bryant made it a point to be the first one at Dallas Cowboys practice, showing up two hours early. On Sunday, the discussion had evolved back into how Dez Bryant has character issues because he refused to carry Roy Williams’ shoulder pads off the practice field.
Bryant’s point makes a lot of sense for why he does not want to carry Roy’s pads: “I feel like I was drafted to play football, not carry another player’s pads,” Bryant said. ”If I was a free agent, it would still be the same thing.”
I agree with Dez — he’s there to play football, not be bullied, bossed around, or hazed, even if it is a rookie tradition. Thing is, Roy Williams is genuinely upset over the whole deal:
“Everybody has to go through it. I had to go through it. 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. I carried pads. I paid for dinners. I paid for lunches. I did everything I was supposed to do, because I didn’t want to be that guy.”
Look Roy, I’m sure when it comes time to sing in front of the veterans and buy the old guys lunch and dinner that Dez will be there to participate. You need to understand that this is not as simple as a rookie not following tradition (as dumb as hazing is). This is not as simple as Dez being a headstrong, defiant person. This runs much deeper than all of that — this is about a rookie preparing to take your job. Maybe Dez should humor you by carrying your shoulder pads off the practice field next time — it’s the only dignity you’ll have left after he unseats you in the starting lineup.
Dez refuses to carry Williams’ pads [Tim MacMahon/ESPN Dallas]