Cowboys Cut Return Specialist Lucky Whitehead for Off-Field Transgressions

Lucky Whitehead (wearing lucky number 13) attended Dirk Nowitzki's charity baseball game earlier this year.
Lucky Whitehead (wearing lucky number 13) attended Dirk Nowitzki's charity baseball game earlier this year. Mikel Galicia
Update (11 a.m. July 25): Police in Prince William County, Virginia, say the man arrested for shoplifting in June was not Whitehead. The man arrested at the convenience store did not have an ID but gave police all of Whitehead's information, including his name, date of birth and social security number. And things get even weirder.

"The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided," the department said in a news release. "At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead's identity was falsely provided to police during the investigation."

The department is working with prosecutors to drop the charges against Whitehead.

Original post: The Dallas Cowboys cut wide receiver and return specialist Lucky Whitehead late Monday afternoon, shortly after the team completed the first practice of its 2017 training. Whitehead, already on the chopping block thanks to his lack of development as a receiver, gave the team all the excuses it needed to fire him during the last two weeks.

On Monday, the Cowboys, media and fans learned that Whitehead had allegedly shoplifted about $40 worth of items from a convenience store in his home state of Virginia in June. The receiver also missed a scheduled court appearance this month, and a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Whitehead's agent, Dave Rich, told the NFL Network's Ian Rapoport that his client wasn't in Virginia when the alleged theft occurred, but Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday that it was time for the team to move on.

"As we gathered more information on that particular situation and conversations we had with Lucky about that particular situation and we put into context with his career with us over the last year or so, we just felt like the best decision for the Dallas Cowboys was to release him," Garrett told reporters after practice. "When you have someone in your program, in this environment, in this structure, and they don't grow and develop and they make the same mistakes over and over again, it's time to move on."

Whitehead made the news last week as well when he reported on Instagram that his dog Blitz was being held for ransom. A Fort Worth rapper named Boogotti Kasino eventually returned the dog to Whitehead. Kasino did not admit to kidnapping the dog, instead claiming that he bought it from a third party.
click to enlarge Here's hoping Whitehead catches on with another NFL team, for Blitz's sake. - LUCKY WHITEHEAD VIA INSTAGRAM
Here's hoping Whitehead catches on with another NFL team, for Blitz's sake.
Lucky Whitehead via Instagram
Cowboys fourth-round draft pick Ryan Switzer stands to benefit most from Whitehead's departure. The North Carolina product was already expected to compete with Whitehead to be the team's 2017 return specialist. Now, he should receive most of the reps with the first team special teams unit throughout training camp and the preseason. Switzer was an excellent returner and a terrific, though undersized, receiver in Chapel Hill, and would've beaten Whitehead for a roster spot anyway unless Whitehead drastically improved on the form that saw him catch only three passes for 48 yards in 2016.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young