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