We’re nearing the middle of July and if the last handful of years are any indicator that means that Rico Gathers hype season is about to begin anew once more.
The tight end whom the Dallas Cowboys drafted out of Baylor three years ago (did you know he played basketball?) has progressively done more with the team in each year that he’s been a part of it, but in spite of that 2019 feels like the year that people have generally cooled on Gathers. Perhaps it was just a fad all along.
Maybe it was that. Or maybe it was that when finally given legitimate (I’m using that word loosely to be fair) playtime in 2018, Gathers was pedestrian. He looks, at absolute best, like an average tight end (with a ceiling few believe is much higher). It happens. Pet cats are ultimately just dreams.
Of course, Gathers has made headlines throughout his Cowboys career for reasons other than just being the guy everybody wants to see more from. He’s quite vocal (no pun intended) about his career as a rapper, and he’s never shy to hold back his feelings on social media. That was the case recently as Gathers responded to a user on Instagram and went as far as saying, in defending his own game, that the Cowboys depth chart is predetermined.
Rico wants all the smoke.— Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) July 8, 2019
Via Rico Gathers' IG. pic.twitter.com/YaAZJFjm6I
Gathers saying it’s a “win win” for him whether he starts or not is certainly up for interpretation, one of those could be that he is saying things are solid for him as long as he’s got a star on the side of his helmet. Such has definitely been the case for many before, and surely after, Rico Gathers played for the Cowboys.
Him saying that he can’t control where he is on a “predetermined depth chart” might sound like an excuse to some (it kind of is one), but is he wrong? And even if he’s right, is that really a big deal? He hasn’t exactly given us a reason to believe that his position group should feature a competition that he should ultimately be a part of.
Obviously Jason Witten is returning to the Cowboys this season and, yes, that is indisputably someone who is going to “start” ahead of Gathers. Call that predetermined if you want, call it common sense if you prefer otherwise.
Outside of Gold Jacket Witt the Cowboys employ Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz at tight end. The former had a hat trick of touchdowns in his final regular-season game of the season, a feat Witten himself never accomplished in one contest, and the latter is a second-year player that the Cowboys invested in after they hadn’t seen much from Rico. There are literally no reasons to believe that Gathers should be anywhere other than fourth on the depth chart at the moment, predetermined or not.
Rico Gathers isn’t in a great spot football-wise, don’t forget that he’s already suspended for the first game of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, and openly whining about his status on the team certainly isn’t going to help. Due to the nature of his suspension he’ll likely not be cut before the first game of the season against the Giants, but after that his spot is definitely in jeopardy.
And you know what? He’s had three years to fight for it. How predetermined were those?