What a mess.
Lucky Whitehead went from allegedly in trouble for shoplifting and missing his court date, to being cut, to then being exonerated from any wrong doing with that issue.
After some speculation about whether Whitehead would then return to the Cowboys, that was quashed when Whitehead and his agent made it clear that they wouldn’t want a return to Dallas. The Cowboys also made it clear they were moving on. Reports are coming in this afternoon that the Jets have claimed Lucky off waivers.
On the surface, it looks like the Cowboys front office jumped the gun in releasing Whitehead. Jason Garrett added fuel to the fire by offering up absolutely nothing in regards to airing out any dirty laundry as it pertains to the details involved in their decision. In a press conference that lasted just three minutes and consisted on nothing but Garrett repeating the same statement nine times, reporters were left with nothing to chew on.
It may feel like Lucky got the shaft on this and that the Cowboys look stupid about how they handled this, but let’s look at this and take it for what it is.
First off, Lucky has been a problem. Last year he was deactivated from the game against the New York Giants for being late to team meetings. The Cowboys may be in the news for a lot of things involving poor decisions of their players, but it’s a rarity that they take matters in their own hands and discipline a player publicly. But they did last season with Lucky.
Some say this most recent event was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but if he was clear of any wrong doing, there’s no straw, right? When the team started looking into this incident, they didn’t wait around for the results. Why is that? It’s not just the outcome that matters, but how Lucky in fact handled the situation as the team was having discussions with him. That’s evaluated.
When Dak Prescott came in for his pre-draft visit, Garrett grilled him about his DUI incident. They weren’t interested in what happened. They already had all that information. They were more interested in listening to Dak explain himself, how he handled the pressure of the questioning, and his demeanor during the discussion. It’s been made clear that players aren’t infallible. They make mistakes. The key is how they respond. Are they taking the right steps to avoiding making those mistakes in the future?
Dak passed the test. Lucky didn’t.
It could very well be that Garrett or the team in general just chose not to believe him in that situation. So many times, the Cowboys make it clear that they are doing their due diligence in looking carefully at the situation. While reporters are typically left in the dark as the team takes it’s own sweet time to get to the bottom of things, this wasn’t the case for Whitehead. The Cowboys acted and they acted fast. Why would they be so quick to judge?
While we are left to speculate the details, what is clear is the Cowboys didn’t waste any time coming to their decision. The fact that Whitehead’s place on the team from a talent perspective was in serious jeopardy also comes into play. It would take a string of good luck for him to make the squad and inevitably involve someone getting hurt. The receiving group is set pretty well. Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley, and Ryan Switzer are all locks. Brice Butler stands a great chance to make the team. Then there are some that think Noah Brown is good enough to hold down a roster spot. That’s six wide receivers right there. Where does that leave Lucky?
The Cowboys made the right move with Whitehead. Did the timing of everything make the organization look bad? Maybe, but that’s just noise and those things have no affect when it comes to winning football games. The team receives a heavy does of noise on a regular basis. Last year it was the huge “distraction” of the Tony Romo ordeal, but they rode that noise to the tune of a 13-3 record.
Fans can be disappointed all they want. It may not look great on the surface, but the days of doubting the decision-making ability of this front office should be long gone.