NFL Training Camp: Dez Bryant Shouldn't Carry Roy Williams' Pads

Michael Schottey@SchotteyNFL National Lead WriterJuly 26, 2010

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 25:  Wide receiver Dez Bryant #1 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys reacts after 24-28 loss against the Texas Longhorns at Texas Memorial Stadium on October 25, 2008 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Sorry Roy Williams, Dez Bryant doesn't need to carry your pads.

No one should.

Bryant, the Dallas Cowboys' 2010 first round pick, made headlines after morning practice on Sunday by refusing to carry shoulder pads for Williams, a 2004 Detroit Lions first rounder.

Why would he?

This morning on Mike and Mike In The Morning, former NFL player Mike Golic laid it out well when he said it doesn't matter who Dez Bryant is or who Roy Williams is. In the NFL, certain amounts of hazing has always happened, and nowadays it is much different from the truly shameful acts that happened in the 70s and 80s.

Frankly, hazing is the wrong word for what goes on. Hazing conjures up the wrong picture. Hazing is what happened to Matthew Carrington in 2005. His death from "water intoxication" resulted in "Matt's Law," a California law that allows for felony prosecutions in deaths that result from hazing.

Hazing brings about the fear and trepidation the 1993 movie Dazed and Confused talked about, not the hilarity that ensued in 2003's Old School.

Carrying pads is not hazing. Carrying pads is about respect.

Why in the world would Dez Bryant show Roy Williams respect?

What has Williams done to earn a lick of Bryant's respect? 

Make no mistake about it. Bryant definitely has some pockmarks on his character.

Honestly, this situation is just one of many that should make Dallas fans worry that another Terrell Owens ("team obliterator" as ESPN's Skip Bayless would say) is on their hands. When looking at the whole of Bryant's diva resume, this is one of the many bullet points.

Yet, this bullet point is one of the more defensible ones.

The way Bryant handled the situation is ignorant and naive. Every rookie in NFL camp right now—in any training camp—is there to play football. Carrying pads after practice does not stop someone from playing football.

Dez Bryant being ignorant and naive is nothing new—see: lying to NCAA about a completely benign dinner with Deion Sanders.

What Bryant should have done, and still should do, is walk over to Tony Romo, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, or one of the many other Dallas Cowboy veterans who deserve his respect and give it to them.

In spades.

See, Roy Williams is that football player that everyone meets at some point in their lives. That one older player—usually a junior in high school or a sophomore in college—that spends most of his offseason excited about hazing the freshmen rather than working on his horrible football skills.

That lineman who spends the entire practice getting beat like a rag doll who expects to be the man in the locker room.

The quarterback who sits at No. 5 on the depth chart but wears aviators to practice and looks around for freshmen to grab his water bottle.

The guy who is not only outworked but outhustled at every term does not deserve respect.

Roy Williams hasn't earned it.

An owner of incomparable talent as a rookie out of Texas, Roy Williams has never put it all together. His excuse was always the lack of talent on the Detroit Lions roster. Then he got to Dallas and was outworked by Miles Austin on a team with an extremely explosive offense.

Williams has no recourse for an On the Waterfront moment. The only person standing between Williams and "being a contender" is Williams himself. He is not Barry Sanders—the veteran stuck on a terrible team.

Williams is a player who is making a case for "addition by subtraction," that any team would be better off not relying on him.

Bryant isn't just in Dallas to "play football." He's in Dallas to take Williams' spot on the roster. He's in Dallas to kick Williams to the sideline. 

Dez Bryant is in Dallas because Roy Williams couldn't cut it.

As usual, the media got this story currently in progress. If this becomes a story about all of the veterans on the team despising Bryant because he's a diva, then this story becomes about Dez Bryant being disrespectful.

But, if this is just a story about Bryant giving Williams the exact amount of respect he's worth—zero—then don't begrudge the rookie receiver.

Bryant isn't going to give Williams any mental advantage, or even the satisfaction of respect.

He shouldn't.


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