The Dallas Cowboys sent a message to the team on Monday by releasing wide receiver Lucky Whitehead following yet another off-the-field incident.
This offseason, the Dallas Cowboys have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. With several players being involved in negative, off-the-field incidents, America’s Team is in the midst of a public relations nightmare.
And with training camp kicking off this week, this Cowboys team needed to send a clear message to it’s players that these types of incidents will not be tolerated for long. On Monday, the team did just that by releasing third-year wide receiver and special teams returner Lucky Whitehead.
On day one of training camp Monday, Dallas’ officials found out that Whitehead had apparently been arrested for shoplifting and charged with petty larceny last month in Virginia. And that an arrest warrant was issued for the 25-year old after he failed to make a court appearance earlier this month.
However, there are reports that Whitehead claims the incident is a case of mistaken identity. But at this point, it appears the damage is done. And as for the Cowboys players themselves, the message has been received.
"“For sure, it is. We heard it loud and clear,” veteran tight end Jason Witten told DallasCowboys.com when asked if Whitehead’s release sent a message to the team. “That stuff can’t come up. We understand what’s expected of us. We’re going to stand close together. That’s what this team does. It doesn’t mean you don’t keep the standard really high. I think it’s a strong message to our entire football team – all of us.”"
Both Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones and head coach Jason Garrett confirmed that Whitehead’s release was more about a culmination on incidents rather than his most recent transgression.
And the fact is, Lucky wasn’t a lock to make this Dallas roster anyways. In fact, the Cowboys brass may have done the young receiver a huge favor.
When the Cowboys drafted wide out and special teams returner Ryan Switzer in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, it also sent a clear message. One that likely meant Dallas intended on moving on from Whitehead regardless. Now that he is a potential free agent, if he clears waivers, Lucky has a chance to latch on to another NFL team much earlier than he would have if he’d been cut after the last preseason game.
During his two seasons in Dallas, Whitehead was able to establish himself as the Cowboys’ primary kick returner. He had a total 33 kick returns for 846 yards and 44 punts for 305 yards in that span. His 23.2 yards per kickoff return average would have placed him as the sixth best returner in the NFL last season, if he had enough of them to qualify.
Unfortunately, Lucky Whitehead was never able to make an impact on the offensive side of the ball in Dallas, racking up a measly nine receptions in two seasons. It something his likely replacement, Switzer, will excel at having recorded 96 catches for 1,112 yards and six scores during his senior season at North Carolina.