I think it's fair to say that first-round pick Dez Bryant has been the star of Cowboys training camp after three practices, but he made news Sunday for a different reason. Bryant is refusing to carry the shoulder pads of his veteran teammates, something rookies around the league have been doing for decades.
Roy Williams, who is trying to hold onto his starting job, handed his pads to Bryant after Sunday's morning session, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. Bryant refused to play along, and he later offered an explanation:
"I'm not doing it," said Bryant. "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]."
So there you have it: the first mini-controversy of Cowboys training camp. I've watched first-round picks such as linebacker DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Terence Newman tote their teammates' pads over the years or deliver water to Bill Parcells, and they never took it as a personal affront. Something tells me that a veteran such as quarterback Tony Romo or right tackle Marc Colombo will have a little talk with Bryant this evening and advise him to loosen up a bit.
But it's not like the Cowboys can fine Bryant for refusing some light hazing. Williams, though, doesn't sound like he's giving up on the prideful rookie. He said he'd go to "Step 2" in the process.
"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."
Perhaps Bryant doesn't want to be subservient to a player he's attempting to beat out. I simply see this as an amusing story early in camp. Is there anyone out there who sort of admires Bryant for taking a stand or would you rather see him fall in line like the rest of the rookies?
Do you think Dez would've enjoyed Bear Bryant's training methods at Junction? I bet the Cowboys' Bryant takes a fair amount of razzing Monday over his decision.