Monday, July 26, 2010

The Haze Game

NFL Veteran: "Hey, rookie. Carry my shoulder pads back to the locker room."

NFL Rookie: "I'm not here to carry your shoulder pads. Carry them yourself."

Fan of team: "Aw crap."

There's nothing logical about NFL rookie hazing. The embarrassing haircuts, ice water baths (mixed with some pretty rank stuff), food runs 30 minutes before the team charter is supposed to leave the airport. It's all unneeded and completely over the top in what is supposed to be a professional atmosphere.

But this is the NFL. There's nothing logical about anything you do. If there's a guy who outweighs you by 70 pounds running straight at you, logic would suggest you get the hell out of his way. Football logic says you go crashing into him, compressing your spine and rattling your brain.

It's a bizarre, violent world here which is why Dez Bryant needs to shut up and carry the damn shoulder pads. Bryant says he's here to play football, not carry people's equipment. I agree with him. And I think he should shut up and do what he's asked.

It's like an African savanna where the males of a certain species are all posturing and showing their power. When an elder male does a dance and violently approaches a younger one, the younger one bows down, submits to the older one and then life goes on. The younger one will have his day in the sun, just not yet.

And that's where we run into the real problem here at Dallas Cowboys' training camp. The older animal doing the posturing is the one the younger animal was drafted to replace.

Roy Williams has been nothing short of a disaster since the Cowboys overpaid in a trade to get him. What's worse, as bad as Williams has been on the field for the Cowboys, he's been just as delusional off of the field. After a season where Miles Austin became the clear go to guy for the team, Williams has been spouting off about how he's always been the guy no matter where he's played and how he considers himself the number one receiver even though he's the only one who believes this.

To summarize, you've got a veteran desperately holding onto his star power and you have a prized incoming rookie who has been called the biggest incoming talent since Randy Moss blew the NFL up a decade ago.

It's a tense situation. One that takes sacrifice for both players. If Roy accepted Dez and played a diminished roll in the Cowboys offense (third wideout, slot receiver, whatever), the Cowboys offense could hum like never before. Dez, however, has to make sure he placates ole Roy's ego and admits that he's just the rookie no matter how good he is.

It hasn't been a good start and now the situation among Dallas recievers has become tense and while Dez Bryant may clearly be the better talent, he is still just a rookie who needs to prove to teammates that he'll be there when the chips are down during the season.

My guess is that other Cowboys veterans will now step in to squash the uprising of Dez. They may like him more than Roy, they may think he gives them a better chance to win, they may secretly hope Roy gets traded or cut. It doesnt matter, Bryant is a rookie. There doesn't have to be any logic used.

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