Monday, December 3, 2012
Jason Garrett urges players to reach out for help
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas – When Jason Garrett talked to the Cowboys Saturday night at their team hotel, he brought up the tragic incident in Kansas City where linebacker Jovan Belcher murdered his girlfriend took his own life earlier that day, according to police.
Garrett repeated a message he has delivered to the players multiple times since becoming the Cowboys coach.
“The most important thing they’ll ever hear me say is this: If you ever have anything going on in life, anything, anything at all, tell us, tell me, tell your position coach, tell the strength coach, tell (Dr. Jacqualene Stephens, mental health consultant), tell (director of player development) Bryan Wansley, tell anybody, just tell them, and we’ll help you,” Garrett said. “We have so many different resources that can help you. If we can’t directly help you, we’ll point you in the direction of somebody who can, whatever it is.
"Literally, I’ll get on my hands and knees and beg you to do this because it’s the most important thing there is and there’s no issue you’ll have in your life we can’t somehow solve in some way and some way may it better.
“I just say that from the bottom of my heart because you never know what guys are going through. You let them know they have a place to turn. It’s a real tragedy there and you just want to make sure you do everything you can to make sure something like that doesn’t happen here and to make them realize we have resources to help.”
Cornerback Brandon Carr was a teammate of Belcher’s in Kansas City and said after Sunday’s game he had a difficult time dealing with the news. Garrett said Carr handled the situation as well as he could.
In the tough-guy world of professional football, Garrett does not believe players should be wary of coming forward for help.
“The other part of it is there’s no judgment involved,” Garrett said. “We’re mot judging you. We’re helping you. We’re here to help. We’ve got a lot of resources to help. We’ve got professional people who are experts in their area to help you. Everybody’s got my cell phone number. They’ve got all the position coaches’ cell phone numbers. Players watch out for other players. If you see something that doesn’t look right or feel right, because you never know what some guys might have. The feeling is, ‘I’ve got to handle it myself. I don’t want somebody to now.’ Somehow, some way we’ve got to break through that.”