DAL­LAS: Tot­ing pads ‘all in fun,’ Wil­liams says

Austin American-Statesman - - SPORTS -

Con­tin­ued from C

Bryant, who would not com­ment Mon­day, thought it was a big deal Sun­day. “I feel like I was drafted to play foot­ball, not carry an­other player’s pads,” the ex-Ok­la­homa State star said of the long-stand­ing rookie rit­ual. “If I was a free agent, it would still be the same thing. I’m not go­ing to do it.”

Wil­liams said he was just fol­low­ing tra­di­tion by hand­ing his pads to Bryant. He said he car­ried pads and paid for meals when he was a rookie for the Detroit Lions in 2004. “No mat­ter if you’re a No. 1 pick or the 7,000th pick, you’ve still got to do some­thing when you’re a rookie,” Wil­liams said.

When Bill Par­cells was with the Cow­boys, the team’s top pick was re­spon­si­ble for tak­ing wa­ter to the coach dur­ing breaks at train­ing camp. Wade Phillips doesn’t have such a re­quire­ment.

Ten­sion could mount be­tween Bryant and Wil­liams be­cause many be­lieve the rookie could be tak­ing away the vet­eran’s start­ing job op­po­site Pro Bowl re­ceiver Miles Austin.

Bryant has been im­pres­sive in all four ses­sions so far, and dur­ing some post-prac­tice drills Mon­day, he dunked the ball over the goalpost af­ter catch­ing a pass in the end zone.

Though he called the shoul­der pads sit­u­a­tion “a non-is­sue,” Phillips said he ad­dressed the team about it be­cause of how quickly the story spread. Phillips said he talked to some­one from Toronto who said it was a top story there.

Then again, Dal­las is the NFL’s only full squad al­ready in train­ing camp. And it is the Cow­boys.

“Be­cause it’s Dez vs. Roy, that’s why it’s a big story,” Wil­liams said. “It’s all in fun. I had to do it and I was the sev­enth (over­all NFL draft) pick. … If you don’t want to do it, it’s not like I’m go­ing to put a gun to your head and make you do it.”

Wil­liams said he also re­mem­bers pay­ing for plenty of meals as a rookie in 2004 — some­thing he ex­pects Bryant to even­tu­ally do, too, though they haven’t spo­ken about it yet. “He wants to con­cen­trate on foot­ball, and we’re go­ing to let him con­cen­trate on foot­ball,” Wil­liams said. “But when we go out to eat, I’m go­ing to be a lit­tle bit more hun­gry and thirsty.”

Tony Gu­tier­rez

Dal­las Cow­boys wide re­ceiver Roy Wil­liams, car­ry­ing his own shoul­der pads, re­turns a piece of mem­o­ra­bilia to a fan af­ter au­to­graph­ing it fol­low­ing prac­tice on Mon­day.

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