Based on his growing reputation, based on the NFL's $50,000 fine, and based on the only publicly-viewed video of the Dec. 6 knockdown of the Giants' Justin Tuck, Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams is guilty, guilty, guilty.
But Blogging The Boys has learned that another piece of film exists. And according to Adams, his agent Jordan Woy and an NFL source, this film -- "the coaches' tape'' - tells a different story. ... a story that will be the basis of what Adams' camp believes will be a successful appeal to the NFL commissioner's office.
"I'm not a dirty player and it wasn't a dirty play,'' Adams tells Blogging The Boys through his agent. "I was preparing to play defense and to make a defensive play, a football play.''
Adds Woy: "In my years, I've been involved in probably 100 appeals. You probably win five out of 100. But the coaches' tape, which I have seen and intend to send to the league, will mean Flozell has a legitimate chance of winning his appeal.''
What's on that coaches' tape? And is there anything that can not only get Adams his 50,000 bucks back, but also lessen his burgeoning "dirtbag'' rep?
First to the tape, and the words of a source who has viewed it:
"It's (a camera) shot from behind the end zone (at which the Cowboys attempt a half-ending field goal),'' the source says. "You see the Giants player field the kick and start returning it. You see him (Adams) charging up the field as if he's getting in position to have to make a tackle. Also, you see two other Cowboys doing the exact same thing, all three guys trying to knock bodies out of the way. (The Giants returner) is coming up the field ... (The three Cowboys) have no way of knowing he'd stepped out of bounds.''
Adams camp insists that the fact he bashed specifically into Tuck, with whom he conflicted earlier this year when Adams' trip of the pass-rusher resulted in an injury to Tuck, was not the result of Adams targeting a certain player.
Tuck doesn't believe that; he labeled Adams a "dirtbag'' after the Dec. 6 conflict. The media, only aware of what was shown on television, has piled on, of course. And the NFL's official response to Adams suggests that his reputation may have been a factor in the handing down of the $50,000 fine, which apparently came from the league's view of the play via the Fox TV telecast and not any true game film.
"Future infractions of the types you have committed may lead to increased disciplinary action up to and including suspension," is reportedly how the letter the NFL sent to Adams read. And again, that seems a reflection of the fact that Adams has been cited four times this season for unnecessary roughness.
Adams, a 12-year veteran and a five-time Pro Bowler, has long been among the NFL's most penalized players. But before this year, those flags were about more typical offensive-line violations, like false starts and holding. This year, it's been more about alleged "dirtbagging.''
Except, says the Adams camp - which, by the way, could conceivably be viewing the coaches' tape with its own biased eye -- he's innocent of at least this one charge.
While Adams focuses on helping Dallas get to the playoffs, his agent is dealing with the appeal issues.
Woy tells BTB that he considered releasing the coaches' tape to Blogging The Boys, ESPN and the Dallas Morning News but has decided to take a more subtle approach.
"We're not trying to make a fuss out of it, because we understand that so much of the reaction is based on a very narrow TV view,'' said Woy. "But we're confident the NFL will be interested in one more view, and a truer view.''