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Dez Bryant ruffles feathers in Cowboys camp

Rookie refuses to carry pads for vet Roy Williams Brad Biggs

Print This July 26, 2010, 05:30 AM EST

Some didn’t believe Dez Bryant would be OK falling in line when it came time to get a contract and dealing with the slotting system as the 24th pick in the draft.

After all, he is represented by Eugene Parker, the agent who tried to pull a power play with a wide receiver who thought he deserved more than slot pay a year ago, San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree.

But Bryant signed on time, arriving with the rest of his Dallas Cowboys teammates in San Antonio for the start of training camp. What Bryant doesn’t believe he has to fall in line when it comes to a rite of passage for rookies in the NFL – carrying the pads of a veteran teammates. Specifically, Bryant wanted nothing to do with carrying the pads of Roy Williams after practice, the veteran wide receiver who many believe Bryant will be taking playing time from this season.

Williams handed his shoulder pads to Bryant following the morning practice Sunday, according to ESPN Dallas. That didn’t go over real well.

“I'm not doing it,” Bryant said, according to the report. “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).”

Rookies everywhere are asked to carry pads. All do it knowing it’s something they’ll only have to do for one season. This isn’t something that is specific to the Cowboys, Williams or this training camp.
“Everybody has to go through it,” said Williams, a former first-round pick himself. “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.”

That guy is the rookie who feels he’s above the things newcomers have to do to fit in on an NFL team, a time-honored tradition. Williams has a point. Whether it’s his pads or those belonging to Miles Austin or any other veteran, Bryant should be happy to haul them off the field along with his own knowing his turn is going to come one day.

Bryant wants to stand out for making plays and he’s already immensely popular with the Cowboys fans. There is no reason to give his teammates or anyone else a reason to question him. Falling in line isn’t difficult in this case. Bryant should pick up the pads.

Williams said that step two could be around the corner if Bryant doesn’t do his part. What’s step two?

“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.”

While no one should condone that kind of behavior, Bryant needs to understand that Jerry Rice once carried pads. So have all the other greats.

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