We had our theories as to why Charlie Waters might have missed his radio broadcast as the Dallas Cowboys' on-air analyst, but it really was as simple as his contract gave him an out, so he took it. You would have too.

Bridge Over Troubled Waters

If you turned on the TV Saturday night to see Drew Bledsoe, you instead got Tony Romo. And if you tuned in the radio to hear Charlie Waters, you instead got...um...Joe Avezzano?

Neither the Dallas Cowboys' old quarterback nor new color analyst was involved in the totally irrelevant 13-3 win over the Seattle Seahawks. Just as planned. While Bledsoe gave Romo some long overdue experience on the field, Avezzano, the Cowboys' former special teams guru-turned-local club owner, slipped in the broadcast booth alongside legendary play-by-play voice Brad Sham and again tried to talk around the marbles in his mouth as Waters rested up for his scheduled debut next Monday in Shreveport, when the Cowboys play the New Orleans Saints.

Waters, remember, is replacing Babe Laufenberg as Sham's sidekick on the team's new flagship station, KTCK-AM (1310, The Ticket), and his contract provided an excused absence last weekend. Whew. That news comes as a relief to those of us who were pondering possible reasons for his no-show. Cycling the Ventura Highway with T.O.? Ticket hazing prank (obviously concocted by Gordon Keith) gone awry? Or, even for a minute, I thought the rumors I heard out in Oxnard, California, two weeks ago might have actually been true--ya know, the one about the Cowboys making their radio talent pay their own way to training camp. That just can't be, right?

I mean, these are the Dallas Cowboys, not the Dallas Sidekicks. Making ace sideline reporter Kristi Scales and Waters travel on anything other than Dallas' dime would be amateurish and preposterous. Geez, even the Observer supplied me with a Ford Focus and a per diem that paved the way to a week's worth of In-N-Out burgers out in Cali. The Cowboys have fallen, but not to the point of plunging into a chintzy corporate culture where the company's bottom line is as important as the team's record. Right? Or perhaps another Oxnard rumor is also true--the one about those rights fees paid by The Ticket not being nearly as much as we thought. --Richie Whitt

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