Roy Williams can't carry Dez Bryant's jock, so why should the Dallas Cowboys' rookie receiver carry the veteran's pads?
Because he's a rookie, that's why. Troy Aikman baked cookies and took them on the team plane. As a Texas Rangers' rookie, Jarrod Saltalamacchia wore a diaper on a road trip. It's a rite of passage. It's the rules.
Bryant, the first-round draft pick, has been dazzling in Dallas' handful of practices in San Antonio. He's the first player on the field and last one off it. In between he's making highlight-reel catches.
As I've said before, it's just a matter of time before he supplants Williams as the Cowboys' No. 2 receiver. Williams can't stop that progression, nor can he blunt the rookie's confidence.
After Sunday morning's workout at The Alamodome, Williams gave his shoulder pads and helmet for Bryant to carry to the locker room. It's a long-standing tradition in the NFL. Rookies carry vets' pads, sing their alma mater's fight song in team meetings, are subjected to ridiculously horrendous hair cuts and fetch water for domineering coaches like Bill Parcells.
Bryant, however, said no to rookie orientation.
"I'm here to play football," Bryant said. "Not to carry someone's pads."
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Bryant will take Williams' job. Is it wrong that he won't take his pads?
I guess some will see it as arrogant, selfish insubordination; others as a confident player sending a message that he will kowtow to no one.
Me? Though I admire Bryant's bravado, it's the first hint we've seen of the individual-over-team, sense-of-entitlement diva reputation he earned at Oklahoma State. But I'm just as concerned about Williams, who continues to drop passes at camp. He should be worried about saving his job, not establishing a veteran-rookie hierarchy.
If Dez dismissed Miles Austin's pads, then we'd have a real story. Right?