On Wednesday morning, the basic facts began to arrive with few details: Frisco police arrested Cowboys linebacker Damien Wilson on Tuesday night for two counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. By the time reports of his arrest hit DFW media, Wilson was already out of jail, having posted $20,000 in bail shortly after being booked into the Frisco detention center.
Later in the day, more information emerged about Wilson's alleged behavior in Toyota Stadium's parking lot. According to a police report, Wilson intentionally backed into a woman while parking and brandished a rifle at a man, "causing him to be in fear." The dispute started, according to reporting from radio station KRLD-AM's Amanda Guerra, after Wilson was unable to find a parking place at FC Dallas' stadium and got into an argument with a group of tailgaters who were taking up several spaces.
With his arrest, Wilson joins cornerback Nolan Carroll on the list of Cowboys arrested in the last six weeks — Dallas police arrested Carroll for DWI on May 29 — and adds to the growing concerns, disciplinary and otherwise, faced by the Cowboys' defense as the team heads into its most anticipated season in two decades.
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Wilson and Carroll are both subject to league and team discipline for their alleged crimes, regardless of the outcomes of their cases. Defensive end David Irving — who, like Wilson and Carroll, appeared set to fight for a starting role during training camp — is suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season for violating the league's performance enhancing drug policy. Jourdan Lewis, the Cowboys third-round draft pick, will likely be on the field in week one, but he faces a July 10 trial date for domestic violence charges stemming from an incident during which he allegedly held his ex-girlfriend down to the floor by her neck.
Then there's the ongoing saga of Ezekiel Elliott and the domestic violence investigation that seems to have no end. Over the weekend, well-connected NFL reporter Adam Schefter of ESPN told SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio that a decision on Elliott's potential punishment could come as soon as the next couple of weeks. The Columbus, Ohio, city attorney declined to press charges against Elliott because of conflicting witness statements and text message evidence that Elliott's ex-girlfriend encouraged witnesses to lie about the alleged assault. Regardless, Schefter said he still believes "that some form of discipline could happen" to Elliott, including an early season suspension.
Setting aside the worries that the Cowboys are returning to the outlaw franchise role they've filled many times throughout their more than 50-year history, the team's defense could be thinner than expected at three key positions to start the season. With games against the Giants at home and the Broncos and Chiefs on the road, it's a less than ideal set of circumstances with which to defend the team's 2016 NFC East Championship.