Sunday, July 25, 2010
Updated: July 26, 5:26 PM ET
Bryant won't carry Williams' pads
By Tim MacMahon
SAN ANTONIO -- Receiver Dez Bryant has done everything right on the field during the first two days of Dallas Cowboys training camp, but he refuses to participate in an NFL rite of passage.
According to the rookie first-round pick, Roy Williams and the other veteran receivers can carry their own shoulder pads after practice.
Williams gave his pads to Bryant after Sunday's morning practice, but Bryant declined to carry them. Williams threatened to go to "step two" when talking to reporters.
"I'm not doing it," Bryant said. "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]."
It's a common duty for rookies, who typically get some sort of hazing. Bill Parcells used to make first-round picks bring him water during breaks in practice. The Cowboys' rookie offensive linemen are given awful haircuts by the veterans at some point during each training camp.
"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."
What would "step two" be?
"We'll find out. Definitely going to find out," Williams said. "I don't know. I've seen guys take people's credit cards and go fill up their cards and wife's cards and everything. There's a lot of dirt that goes on in that locker room."
Bryant, a Lufkin, Texas, native who went to Oklahoma State, has become an immediate fan favorite. He made several spectacular catches during each practice in the Alamodome -- where the crowd roars even when he makes routine plays -- and runs a lap around the field high-fiving fans before going into the locker room.
Williams, an Odessa, Texas, native and University of Texas product, is a frequent target of fan criticism due to his poor production since being traded from the Detroit Lions during the 2008 season. He was booed during Sunday morning's practice when he dropped a pass, although Pro Bowler Miles Austin didn't get similar treatment when he had a drop in the afternoon session.
"I bought a Ford F-250 2011. Everybody loves a new car but I also have a 2004 Navigator that's still running," Williams said about the perception that Bryant will soon be the starter. "So that's the way I feel."
There has been no previous friction between Williams and Bryant, whose arrival puts Williams' status as a starter in jeopardy. Williams has consistently praised Bryant publicly and made it clear that the rookie could come to him with any questions that he had.
Williams believes it's a veteran's duty to serve as a mentor to rookies. And he believes it's a rookie's duty to carry the veterans' shoulder pads to the locker room after practice.
"I don't believe in that at all," Bryant said. "We have a goal here. It's not about playing games. It's all about just trying to do the right thing and achieve our goal."
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.