The Dallas Cowboys waived seventh-round rookie safety Ahmad Dixon to make room for special teams ace C.J. Spillman. The conventional wisdom was that the Cowboys would then try to get Dixon on the practice squad. But tweets sent by various reporters during Jason Garrett's Monday press conference raised some sudden doubts as to whether the Baylor product has any future with the Cowboys at all.
Garrett says they're hopeful they can put Wetzel on the practice squad. Little more vague in his language about Dixon.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) September 1, 2014
Garrett clearly doesn't want Dixon back on practice squad— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) September 1, 2014
"@CowboysCatsCubs: @BryanBroaddus JG didnt seem to keen on the idea of Dixon on PS. Is that the way u took it as well??" Sounded bad.— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) September 1, 2014
"@Luiz_MUT: @BryanBroaddus any chance Dixon gets moved up to 53?" He might not be on this team.— Bryan Broaddus (@BryanBroaddus) September 1, 2014
This is a precipitous fall for the player who was the star of the first Dallas preseason game. But after he was fined for a hit on a defenseless receiver in the third preseason game against the Miami Dolphins, Dixon made some statements that made it sound like he was not willing to change his ways, which he attributed to the way he was taught to play in college.
"I don't ever think I do nothing wrong when I hit somebody," Dixon said. "I'm just out there playing ball. People might try to say, ‘He's stupid. He does this. He does that,' but I mean, when you're taught how to play a certain way for a certain amount of years, you got to all of a sudden adjust how you play completely, I mean it is what it is."
A penalty for a hit on a defenseless receiver usually also results in the league fining a player.
"If that's what it is, I'm not going to say I don't care, but I'm playing ball," Dixon said. "If I got to take a fine every week for me to play ball, I'll do that. That's what I do."
That did not sit well with head coach Jason Garrett, who responded with what was, for him, an ultimatum to Dixon.
"We just impressed upon him the importance of understanding where the NFL is on these rules, and they're going to call them."
Dixon toned down his comments in subsequent interviews, but it may have been a little late and failed to convince the coaches that he fully understood the situation. Now Garrett seemed to have dropped some pretty serious hints that the team was prepared to move on from Dixon. Given the relative lack of depth at safety (that would leave only four safeties on the roster for the time being, plus Jemea Thomas who was tweeting that he was going to the practice squad after being cut to make room for linebacker Korey Toomer), this would seem to indicate that Dixon really made himself look bad in the eyes of the coaches.
The hard-hitting style Dixon brought was seen by some as something that the Cowboys could use, but with the emphasis on defensive holding and pass interference calls this season added to the ongoing concerns about concussions, he may have simply been the wrong kind of player for today's NFL.