When most teams aren’t in camp yet, these are the stories that catch fire — Cowboys No. 1 draft pick Dez Bryant, refusing to carry the pads of fellow receiver Roy Williams after practice despite it being a time-honored tradition on every team. It happens on the Cardinals all the time. I saw many rookies doing it this offseason after OTAs, and that included No. 1 pick Dan Williams. It’s harmless, and refusing to do so creates more harm than good.
Larry Fitzgerald said the story should have stayed in-house and not gotten into the media. Maybe he is right. But that doesn’t change the fundamentals of the situation.
“You can say it’s hazing or messing with the young guys, but really what it is in my opinion is, it’s an invitation to be a part of the team, to be part of the family,” running back Jason Wright said. “This is how you get into the family.”
“And,” Wright added with a laugh, “if you throw a hissy fit over it, we’re going to have trouble being family.”
Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett was willing to look into the dynamic. Dockett wondered if it was personal between Bryant and Williams, and if so, he was willing to understand. Dockett said he carried pads for whoever asked when he was a rookie save for one player — former defensive tackle Russell Davis, with whom Dockett apparently didn’t see eye-to-eye. “But if (Bryant) treats all the receivers like that,” Dockett said, “then, I’d make it miserable for him.”
The Cards’ rookies don’t exactly deal with a gauntlet. There are no crazy tapings to a goal post. They carry pads. They have to buy breakfast a few times. And there is the singing of the college fight song in training camp and the end-of-camp rookie show (which many times carries parodies of veterans and coaches anyway, so there are zings all around).
“You’ve got to earn your keep,” second-year linebacker Reggie Walker said. “It’s really not a big deal.”
Wright was cut early in camp by the 49ers when he was a rookie, so he escaped a lot of pad-carrying. By the time he hooked on with the Falcons, he didn’t have to carry pads, but he ended up buying a lot of breakfasts. “I had Warrick Dunn’s Waffle House order and T.J. Duckett’s Waffle House order in my phone, ready to go,” Wright said.
Dan Williams has certainly carried Dockett’s pads a few times already.
“No question,” Dockett said. “And he’s going to do a lot of other (stuff) too.”
Tags: Darnell Dockett, Dez Bryant, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Walker, Roy Williams
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