Asked how legendary coach Tom Landry would have handled troubled Dez Bryant, Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach bowed his head and pretended to pray.
There are no easy solutions when a player with that much talent causes that much trouble.
Staubach lived through a somewhat similar situation early in his tenure as the Cowboys’ quarterback. The Cowboys ended up trading running back Duane Thomas two seasons into his career because his off-field issues (mainly insubordination) became too much of a distraction to justify his on-field contributions -- and Thomas led the NFL in touchdowns for a Super Bowl championship team.
“You still want to help them, but you get to a point where, is it affecting the rest of the team?” Staubach said Thursday, appearing with receiver Drew Pearson as the headliners on ESPN Dallas 103.3’s Lunch with a Legend. “Once that happens, that’s when you’ve got to cut the cord. But you’ve still got to do what you can. Coach (Landry) tried to work with players, but if it didn’t work out, you were gone.”
Staubach isn’t close enough to the situation to feel comfortable calling for the Cowboys to cut ties with Bryant. However, Staubach is certainly troubled by what he reads and hears about Bryant, especially the alleged assault on his mother that led to Bryant’s misdemeanor arrest Monday.
“If it actually is factual that he’s had all these episodes, there is definitely a pattern of behavior that’s not good,” Staubach said. “It’s affecting him, then it affects your teammates and affects what you do on the field. So that’s not good. If you can’t repair that, it affects the rest of the team.
“I don’t think there’s any excuse in the world, even if you have a bad mother, that you physically do anything to your mother. If that’s true, there’s no excuse for that.”