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FWST:Cowboys not-so-bad boys for a change


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Posted on Thu, Jun. 23, 2005

Cowboys not-so-bad boys for a change

By Randy Galloway

Star-Telegram Staff Writer

What you gonna do when they come for you?

Bad boys. Bad boys.

As we are reminded after each show, Cops is filmed entirely on location.

Over the last few months, the best location for this kind of action would be any NFL town.

The league's PR machine out of New York City doesn't provide this kind of statistical information, but someone asked a question the other day:

Has this been an off-season NFL record for arrests, turmoil and goofy behavior?

If not, then pretty near. Personally, I can't remember anything worse.

Bad boys. Stupid boys. Crazy boys.

And then there's also the disorganized mess, which describes Joe Gibbs' off-season situation in Washington, among others.

Tony Dungy, the straight-as-an-arrow head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, was being questioned by the media up there about his team's rash of embarrassing incidents over the spring and summer.

So Dungy produced a piece of paper with the written rules he was attempting, unsuccessfully, to drill into his players.

It was titled, "The Five Biggest Causes of Off-Field Problems."

No. 1. Being out after 1 a.m.

No. 2. Drugs and alcohol.

No. 3. Unlicensed guns.

No. 4. Driving too fast.

No. 5. Women you don't know.

C'mon Tony, loosen up. Let the guys have some fun.

But on the flip side of this summer's NFL combo production of Cops/Guys Gone Wild video, we have -- drum roll, please -- the Dallas Cowboys.

Bail bondsmen in Irving are suddenly filing for unemployment.

Nobody at Valley Ranch is eager to publicly discuss these new Choirboy Cowboys because, as soon as you talk about it, Dwayne Goodrich might show up.

But there was a time when the Cowboys were declared the worldwide leader in arrests, turmoil and goofy behavior, starring a cast of Michael Irvin, Erik Williams, Leon Lett, Barry Switzer -- yes, Mr. Jones himself -- and assorted others.

The Cowboys always claimed, with some validity, that their reputation for Bad Cows was a product of the high-profile nature of the brand.

But things have changed lately, and particularly in comparison to the rest of the league this summer.

All is quiet at Valley Ranch. Extremely quiet.

Some of this is a credit to the "program" Jerry Jones put in place to clean up the image of the Cowboys.

Some of this is certainly a credit to Bill Parcells.

When Big Bill said in April that he was too old to deal anymore with thugs and bad actors, he meant it.

I'd still like to see Parcells tested on this if a 25-year-old Lawrence Taylor certainly surfaced at Valley Ranch.

Premier talent in the NFL is always given additional rope.

But that's not to say Parcells is not serious. Very serious.

He posted a new sign in the locker room at Valley Ranch this summer, titled "A Recipe for Disaster."

Some of Tony Dungy's points are among the "recipe." But Big Bill also added "Sex Clubs."

Speculation says that a decent player, backup offensive lineman Matt Lehr, was sent packing after last season because his presence was observed at some of the topless lizard joints around town.

True? I don't know. But Lehr, who was never in trouble or considered a trouble-maker, has been moved out.

Like any coach, Parcells strives to remove all distractions.

And that doesn't apply to just cop-related issues.

Go back to the NFL Draft in late April.

Remember, how many of the mock drafts had Maryland defensive lineman Shawne Merriman listed as the Cowboys' choice for the first pick (No. 11 overall)?

When the Cowboys passed on Merriman, he went No. 12 to San Diego.

And when Merriman showed up in San Diego to be introduced to the media, he made a point of publicly ripping the Cowboys for lying to him. He said Parcells and Jones promised him a week before the draft he would be the team's first pick.

Well, maybe they did.

But before draft day on Saturday "something smelled wrong" is the word from Valley Ranch.

The Cowboys suspected Merriman was not being truthful about his agent.

The short version of a long story is that Merriman had a sudden change of agents right after the draft, going to the Poston brothers, well known in the NFL for creating acrimony between team and client.

To this day, Merriman has refused to participate in any off-season workouts, including mini-camps, for the Chargers. On the advice of the Postons, he is not hitting the field because of a lack of "injury insurance" protection they want the team to provide.

Can you imagine the turmoil if that had happened with the Cowboys? And there's no doubt, at least at Valley Ranch, it would have happened.

Of course, the bottom line will be who turns out to be the best player, Demarcus Ware or Merriman.

The Cowboys claim they took the player they really wanted.

Certainly, they took the player who didn't cause current problems or trouble off the field.

In the NFL of this summer, that's far from the norm.

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"The Five Biggest Causes of Off-Field Problems."

No. 1. Being out after 1 a.m.

No. 2. Drugs and alcohol.

No. 3. Unlicensed guns.

No. 4. Driving too fast.

No. 5. Women you don't know.


Yeah. Especially all at the same time.

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