Let’s make a deal!
If Dez Bryant doesn’t want to carry anyone’s shoulder pads than he shouldn’t ask anybody to carry his ego, which is getting bigger by the Dallas Cowboy minute.
The $8.3 million rookie doesn’t seem to be concerned that he could find himself in need of friends if he doesn’t earn his paycheck and finds the weight of the world stomping him into the turf that Jerry Jones built.
The 24th pick in this year’s NFL Draft by Dallas, Bryant has decided to go against a time honored tradition with one of the league’s most storied franchises.
Bags be bygones. He won’t carry any that don’t have his name on it and is particularly opposed to picking up those belonging to veteran receiver Roy Williams.
You have to say this about the former Oklahoma State receiver; he doesn’t scare easy. He is bucking a ritual that Emmitt Smith, Tony Dorsett, Michael Irvin and Tony Romo never had a problem with.
Maybe Bryant is a victim of short-sightedness or needs a history lesson. If you look enough times in the mirror to admire yourself, reality can become distorted.
He won’t find any sympathy from coaches and players around these parts.
“We are creating a generation of prima donnas,” says Todd Williams, who was homeless during his days at Southeast, but still managed to have a standout career at FSU and earn an NFL paycheck for five years.
“Everybody went through this. It’s part of the game,” Williams says. “When I was a rookie with Tennessee, they played all kinds of tricks on me. In training camp, they spun me around a bunch of times and made me run 100 yards. I was bumping into people on the sidelines and it was embarrassing.”
One could agree with Bryant that this tradition is dumb, outdated and serves no apparent purpose.
But then grown men bashing each other for a good portion of their adult life might also seem to border on the outer edges of sanity.
So if you are part of this fraternal madness you do it and swallow your ego. This is really for Bryant more than anyone else. You never know when you are going to need a friend.
Current ODA head coach Brett Timmons said swallowing his pride was the best nourishment he ever got when he was a freshman at Tulane and often felt like a baggage handler.
“I had to pack our starting linebacker’s bag and carry it to the bus,” Timmons recalled. “I had to bring the coaches water. I didn’t like it, but it humbled me and brought me back down to earth. All Bryant has done is ostracize himself in that it’s a kind of fraternal initiation you go through in the NFL.”
Palmetto head football coach Dave Marino experienced NFL hazing as an unpaid assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles when they were coached by Buddy Ryan, an iron-fisted, no-non-sense type of guy.
“We had to do skits and perform on stage in the middle of training camp and sing the songs of our alma mater,” Marino said. “Bryant is absolutely wrong. It’s still part of the culture in the NFL, and if they deem it part of the process of earning your way into the league, you do it.”
Perhaps no one has more of a right to be opposed to hazing than Bradenton Christian head football coach Allan Gerber, who suffered what might be considered the ultimate embarrassment when he played at Trenton State College (NJ).
“I was pulled out of the locker room without any clothes on where the cheerleaders were practicing,” he said. “But it was a different day then, and they just waved and everybody laughed and went about their business. Today we live in such a litigious society you can’t allow that to go on.”
Bryant did acquiesce somewhat on Tuesday agreeing to go along with Cowboys tradition of having the rookies take the vets and their wives out to dinner. With a $1.95 million signing bonus, it seems his math skills are ahead of his social skills.