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Jason Witten embraces high expectations for player conduct

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys are under the spotlight again for issues on and off the field. On the field, the team is 3-1 heading into a Sunday afternoon clash against the Houston Texans (3-1).

Off the field, Grapevine, Texas, police confirmed that special teams player C.J. Spillman is being investigated in connection with an alleged sexual assault at the Gaylord Hotel. Also, defensive tackle Josh Brent, convicted in January of intoxication manslaughter for the December 2012 crash that killed Cowboys practice squad player Jerry Brown, was welcomed back to the team after he completed his sentencing.

Recently, coach Jason Garrett spoke to the team about conduct, especially when it comes to domestic violence. Tight end and player representative Jason Witten is mindful of the high standards the league and its fans want from players.

"I think in general you’re always hesitant to comment because you don’t know enough about any of those situations," Witten said. "Specific to the domestic violence cases, there’s no place for that in our game. And I think you’ve seen that with what the players’ association have done, and obviously the expectations are high. But at the same time, they represent those players and those players have got to learn from that and be accountable so it never happens again."

Witten was asked whether these incidents, particularly Spillman's, tarnish the reputation of the franchise, which has endured numerous off-the-field issues like several other NFL teams.

"I think they're two separate situations," Witten said. "Josh, he did serve his time and I was a teammate of his when all that went down, and it was a tragedy and to see Josh go through that and the process of coming back is great to see and we support him from that standpoint. I think with C.J. we just don't know enough. He's my teammate. I just found out about it earlier in the day. But as I said before, the expectations and standards for us is high, and it needs to be high. We'll see how that plays out and we respect him and he's been a great asset for our team and his interaction with us. He's a true pro."