July 26, 2010- By Jonathan Lowell
By signing a contract early and getting into training camp on time, it was believed that Dez Bryant was making strides to be in the good graces of coaches and players on the Dallas Cowboys. The wide receiver may have erased that good will by refusing to participate in a right-of-passage. 2010 NFL betting trends are swaying in favor of the Cowboys ahead of the regular season.
Roy Williams reportedly handed his pads to Bryant after their workout Sunday, and told him to carry them off the field. Bryant declined to carry them, sparking controversy about whether or not rookies should be made to participate in hazing. Williams has threatened to go to “step two” if it means getting Bryant to submit to the requests of veteran players.
“I’m not doing it,” Bryant said. “I feel like I was drafted to play football, not carry another player’s pads. If I was a free agent, it would still be the same thing. I just feel like I’m here to play football. I’m here to try to help win a championship, not carry someone’s pads. I’m saying that out of no disrespect to [anyone].”
NFL rookies commonly participate in these rituals that are meant to build team character. Bill Parcells was known to have rookies bring him water during breaks in practice. Offensive lineman are typically given bad haircuts by the veterans in the pre-season.
Williams sounded a little bitter after the practice Sunday, and told reporters about his past duties as a rookie.
“Everybody has to go through it,” Williams said. “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.”
When reporters asked Williams what step two would be, he replied vaguely.
“We’ll find out. Definitely going to find out,” Williams added. “I don’t know. I’ve seen guys take people’s credit cards and go fill up their cards and wife’s cards and everything. There’s a lot of dirt that goes on in that locker room.”
Williams came into the league as a rookie in 2004 out of the University of Texas. Though he is not the most liked player on the team, his status as a veteran is unquestioned. He described his feeling about being replaced by Bryant in an automobile analogy. 2010 NFL weekly betting odds will surely be affected if Bryant takes Williams’ place on the field.
“I bought a Ford F-250 2011. Everybody loves a new car but I also have a 2004 Navigator that’s still running,” Williams said about the perception that Bryant will soon be the starter. “So that’s the way I feel.”
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