Lack of personal responsibility is hurting the Dallas Cowboys

Dec 21, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain (55) on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 21, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain (55) on the sidelines during the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Certain players lack of personal responsibility combined with contract restrictions are hurting both the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL as a whole.

Last week, I shared the opinion that individual accomplishments in football are overrated. After all, football is a team sport where success is measured my team wins and losses. Being on the team that wins the Dallas Cowboys’ sixth Lombardi trophy is the goal. A true team player like Tony Romo wouldn’t care if he threw for 2,000 yards or 7,000 yards, as long as they were champions at the end.

Without wavering from my opinion about individual accomplishments, team success still requires one important thing. Each element simply has to do their job. For all of my gripes about head coach Jason Garrett, he definitely hit the nail on the head when that became the team mantra. “Do Your Job” was on team t-shirts and posters and it was a great message.

Like a business, football teams have a lot of moving parts. We often simplify the process by focusing on offense, defense and special teams, but those units are still comprised of individuals. Individuals that need to focus on the one task of doing their job on each play. Anybody remember when our starting center was injured and every snap was going over Romo’s head? That’s how important center Travis Frederick is to our offense – his job of getting Romo the ball – initiates every offensive play.

In football, business doesn’t stop when the play is over or at the end of the game or at the end of the season. At the end of the season, our athletes are professional football players. That becomes their main job. Sure, they might host football camps – my son attended multiple local camps hosted by Sam Barrington, Leon Washington and Blake Bortles (Don’t laugh – My family is in Jacksonville, FL).

Maybe our athletes might do a little acting and star in a movie or some television commercials. With their salaries, they usually aren’t delivering Papa John’s pizza or working at a fast food restaurant during the off-season. I’m aware that wide receiver Lucky Whitehead did work at Popeye’s chicken for a minute – but that’s not the norm.

Being a professional athlete during the offseason means continuing to – “Do Your Job”. You need to watch your diet and maintain a level of conditioning. Take a vacation, relax and have fun – but like I tell my son – be a leader and try to make smart decisions. Don’t drive home drunk or shoot yourself in the leg at a nightclub at 4 am. You’re an adult that has to understand that life is about – Personal Responsibility. Failure to do so means you’re engaging in actions that are detrimental to the team.

Football is big business and our Cowboys need to be run more like one. In football, the bottom line is usually measured by winning championships. When you’re damaging the bottom line, those parts need to be eliminated and replaced. That brings me to what my editor and fellow Landry Hat writer Steven Mullenax and I like to call Rolando Watch 2016.

The actions of linebacker Rolando McClain this offseason is similar to watching a co-worker at a Best Buy warehouse come in late four days a week and stealing multiple 65” Ultra 4K, Smart TV’s on Friday. You could turn a blind eye to it but when they shut down the warehouse or force supervisors to increase security and enforce policy changes – you realize that his actions hurt everyone.

Removing McClain, defensive end Randy Gregory and every employee that isn’t taking the title of professional athlete seriously isn’t about setting an example or sending a message. It would definitely do both for current and future players that not only join the Cowboys every team in the NFL. This is why change is needed in the way player contracts are structured and how they affect the salary cap.

Owner Jerry Jones likes to mention how much he respects tight end Jason Witten as a football player and as a man. In other words, Witten is a class-act both on and off the field. Enabling teams to remove players under contract that are detrimental to their team and the league would increase the number of “good guys” that visit children hospitals and act as community stewards.

Next: Cowboys Defense 2016: State of the Unit – Defensive Line

Teams with socially responsible players make for a better league and provides players and teams we can be proud to support. We could use a roster with 53 Jason Witten’s – I’m sure everyone would support working towards that.



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