TORONTO - Knowing that placing off-field guidelines on mercurial receiver Dez Bryant could violate the collective bargaining agreement, the Dallas Cowboys have tried to distance their involvement in instituting the restrictions on Bryant.
ESPNDallas.com reported on Monday that Bryant would have a midnight curfew most of the time, would be banned from drinking alcohol and attending strip clubs and would have two counseling sessions a week, along with a security team.
The talented Bryant has run into numerous personal powderkegs and the Cowboys were eager to get him as straightened out as possible.
Bryant’s advisor David Wells told ESPN Radio that he asked the team for assistance and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stuck to that script.
“I’m not so sure where the media has come up with detail of this nature,” Jones told KRLD-FM about whether he forced Bryant to accept the guidelines.
“I think it’s pretty clear, we’ve got behavior rules in the NFL that have been made very clear by the commissioner’s office. And I think it’s real clear that if you don’t abide by the rules of society what happens.”
According to Wells, Bryant came to the realization that he needed help to turn his life around (and to make sure he stayed on the straight and narrow long enough to get a huge contract extension, a cynic might add).
“Then Jerry Jones is in great support of this system and said: ‘Let’s get it done.’ It came out that it’s all about somebody forcing it, but he’s accepted responsibility himself to get past any negativity that’s out there and try to move forward,” Wells said.
The guidelines are still a work in progress and Wells said Bryant would release a statement soon. He has not talked to the media since being arrested in July for allegedly assaulting his mother.
This is one odd situation and one that would not be occurring if Bryant was merely a marginal talent.
WALLACE FINALLY SHOWS
He has been slated to be a day away from arriving for about two weeks now, but finally, Mike Wallace has reported to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The holdout Pro Bowl wide receiver was on hand Tuesday morning, though he remains displeased about not receiving a contract extension.
Wallace will not practice until next week, but expects to play in the opener.
The Washington Redskins have released tight end Chris Cooley after eight seasons and 428 career receptions.
Cooley played in only five games last season due to injury and indicated he could be back with the team at a lower salary sometime in the future.
Meanwhile, the Redskins signed former Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff and replaced Graham Gano.
According to cbssports.com, the Detroit Lions are actively seeking a trade to acquire a running back. Jahvid Best still has not been cleared for contact and Kevin Smith is hurt ... Players were allowed to hit Vikings running back Adrian Peterson for the first time on Monday at practice ... Dallas outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and receiver Miles Austin say they will play in Week 1 against the New York Giants. Neither player has practised in weeks ... Brady Quinn has won the backup quarterback job over Ricky Stanzi in Kansas City and Luke McCown has been signed for the job in Atlanta, with Chris Redman being released to make room ... Cincinnati centre Kyle Cook could be out for the season because of injuries to his ankle and foot ... Former NFL wide receiver Sam Hurd has been jailed indefinitely for allegedly failing drug tests and attempting to arrange a drug deal while out on bond, as well as trying to star a drug distribution network. The Bears cut Hurd following his arrest last December ... Brian Westbrook will retire as a member of the Eagles, the team he starred for, and will be honoured at a halftime ceremony on Dec. 23.
KIRKPATRICK HAS SETBACK
The Bengals might have to wait a little bit longer for first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick.
The cornerback suffered a setback and probably won’t be able to make his debut for the team on Thursday.
Kirkpatrick couldn’t practice on Monday because of soreness in the same knee he hurt just prior to training camp. He was only cleared to practice last week, but now has been sent to the doctor’s office to try to figure out what is going on with his knee.
“He’s got a little bit of soreness in his knee,” head coach Marvin Lewis said.
“So they’re checking him out to see where he is. It wasn’t expected. We don’t know what it is. It’s just sore.”
Selected 17th overall, Kirkpatrick was expected to be in the mix for a starting job, but now likely will see his first NFL action in the regular season.
The word is Kirkpatrick has a lot to learn after getting by mostly on his athletic talent in the past, so playing on Thursday against Indianapolis would have been a big help.
Now he’ll be in tough whenever he gets into the lineup.
DOLPHINS SILENT ABOUT DAVIS TRADE
The Miami Dolphins want their players to play and the management staff to manage.
The team is trying to prevent the players from speaking out about personnel moves after some were rather vocal about the release of Chad Johnson earlier this month.
Miami traded cornerback Vontae Davis to Indianapolis for draft picks, weakening the team at a position it potentially could have been quite strong at.
Now depth might be an issue, with no immediate help coming back the other way.
According to the Miami Herald, though the players didn’t react negatively publicly, as per the wishes of the head coach, one did criticize it privately.
Reggie Bush said “it’s tough, obviously. It’s tough,” about the move, before a team PR representative stopped the interview.
The team said it was stopped because Bush was supposed to get a day off from the media after talking the day before, according to profootballtalk.com.
Karlos Dansby, who ripped the Johnson release was slightly more diplomatic this time around.
“I’ll leave that up to you all,” Dansby said.
“I don’t know what the situation was or what occurred to cause the trade (but) he’s a great player, one of the best corners in the game. I’m not sure about the direction of the team. That’s not my place. My place is to play hard and be the leader of men.”
WELKER WON’T ROCK THE BOAT
Wes Welker is being a team player.
Welker, who has teamed so spectacularly with Tom Brady over the years, hoped to get a rich extension from New England in the off-season, but that never materialized.
Instead, tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez both received new deals.
No matter, Welker said.
“Good for him. I’m definitely happy for him,” Welker told the Boston Herald about Hernandez.
“He’s a great player and done a lot of great things for us and it’s good to have him here.”
But what about his own situation?
“I think you have to ask coach (Bill) Belichick that. I’m just going out here trying to do my job the best of my ability and let everything else take care of itself.”
Welker signed a franchise tender for $9.5 million US for this season and could be tagged next year for a bit more.
Many believe it is more likely Welker heads elsewhere for 2013 than accept another one-year deal.
Unhappiness could lead to distractions during this season.
But, for now at least, Welker is not rocking the boat.
CARROLL FINE WITH FLYNN AS BACKUP
Laugh at the Seattle Seahawks all you want for signing Matt Flynn to a massive deal and then handing the starting reins to diminutive rookie Russell Wilson.
Head coach Pete Carroll doesn’t think it was an odd or stupid move at all.
“That’s the price of free agency. That’s the market. The market was driven there and we had to pay that price to get the player to come to our program,” Carroll told 710 ESPN.
“I don’t want (salaries) to matter to me. We understand there is a thought about that, but as a coach I’m doing this for the competitive reasons in the fact that come out and if a guy gets paid more and he’s playing backup he better be a pretty good backup. He better play well and better perform well, so I don’t think any fan out there would want me to make a decision based on how much a guy is getting paid. You want the best guy at that time to play for us and that’s exactly how I see it.”
Makes sense and, to be fair, there were many other teams willing to ante up for Flynn, even though his resume was limited as Green Bay’s backup.
STEELERS SPEAK AGAINST CONCUSSIONS
The Pittsburgh Steelers love hard-nosed, smash-mouth football.
Pittsburgh players like James Harrison have railed against the NFL becoming a “softer” league in the past with Harrison even threatening to retire due to all the fines he racked up.
But, always a progressive organization, the team will announce a public service campaign to promote concussion awareness and education on Wednesday.
It will be in conjunction with the University of Pittburgh Medical Center Sports Medicine Concussion Program.
The program will aim to inform how to prevent concussions through safe play and proper tackling techniques and how to deal with concussions once they occur.
The Steelers are the first NFL team to participate in such a program.
They won’t be the last.
Meanwhile, Harrison was activated off of the physically unable to perform list on Tuesday, along with fellow linebacker Jason Worilds.
Both can now start practising and eventually will rejoin a defence that wants to be “legendary” according to safety Ryan Clark.
Though it might be hard to marry “legendary” with safe play, the Steelers will give it a try.