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Cowboys' rationale for release questioned

OXNARD, Calif. -- The NFL Players Association filed a
grievance Monday against the Dallas Cowboys on behalf of
Quincy Carter, claiming the quarterback was released by the team for
reasons not permitted in the NFL collective bargaining agreement.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, however, remained confident about why
Carter was cut two weeks ago and said he was willing to answer any
questions from the union or the NFL's management council.

"Basically the decisions were made because of what we wanted to
do at that position this year and in the future," Jones said after
the Cowboys practiced Monday. "They were well, in my view, within
the area that I'm comfortable with regarding being able to defend
it."

Jones didn't elaborate on the reasons.

The team has not given specific reasons for Carter's release,
although there were widespread reports that he had failed a drug
test. Parcells and Jones have been vague publicly.

"You don't go from being a starting, playoff quarterback in
this league to someone not good enough to make the 80-man roster
the next summer," Richard Berthelsen, the union's general counsel,
said in a statement.

But the union didn't indicate what it believes were the reasons
for Carter's unexpected release Aug. 4.

Carter started all 16 regular-season games plus the Cowboys'
playoff game last season. His departure left 40-year-old Vinny
Testaverde as the only experienced quarterback, with Drew Henson --
a player Jones traded for during the offseason -- one of the
backups.

The NFLPA filed for a special master proceeding that would be
heard by professor Stephen Burbank of the University of
Pennsylvania Law School. The union said the first step would
probably be the taking of depositions from Cowboys owner Jerry
Jones and coach Bill Parcells.

Jones said neither he or Parcells had been contacted about
possible depositions, and that other things would have to be
resolved before getting to that point.

Carter's agent, Eugene Parker, said his client was approached by
the union about filing the grievance. Carter supports the action,
but his focus remains on playing.

"It's in the Players Association's hands. They're handling
it," Parker said. "It's not on Quincy's mind. His mind is on
getting ready mentally and physically to play. He's doing what he
can to continue to prepare. ... He's trying to move on. What else
can he do?"

The CBA does not permit teams to administer drug tests, although
if Carter already was in the league's drug program by virtue of a
previous positive test, he could be tested by the league.

Parker declined to go into specifics about the case, but like
the union would like to know how Carter went from Parcells saying
he had a "leg up" on the competition to being off the team a few
days later.

Union spokesman Carl Francis said he expects the case to take at
least a few weeks.

While he didn't talk about the grievance Monday, Parcells said
the Cowboys have adjusted and moved on without Carter.

"I don't there was much of a psychological adjustment," said
Parcells, whose team opened the preseason with an 18-0 loss
Saturday night at Houston. "When you start training camp, when we
started, players were coming and going. I don't think there's much to that."