Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett did something unusual during Sunday’s practice. He used a new form of discipline for his players, sending three to “timeout” for fighting in the middle of it.
Tight end Rico Gathers, wide receiver Noah Brown and linebacker Kyle Wilber all exited the practice field after getting into scuffles.
“Just competing with my teammates,” Gathers said. “It got a little heated. I finished the play all the way through and some of the defense didn’t really agree with that.”
Wilber beat Gathers easily in a pass rush drill in front of the team during the “compete period,” and the two had heated exchanges after the whistles blew. Gathers then slammed his helmet down in frustration and headed to the locker room.
“That is my way of calming myself down,” Gathers said. “I’m trying to hit none of my teammates, so I take it out my helmet. My coaches don’t agree with that. They sent me in to the locker room for 10 minutes. When I came back to practice I went back to work.”
Shortly after Gathers’ helmet toss, Wilber and Brown had an extended exchange during a block on a running play in team drills. Wilber then exchanged words with wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Wilber and Brown were then escorted to the locker rooms.
For a moment, it appeared that Garrett had ejected them but all three returned before the end of practice.
Garrett lectured the three players once they returned to practice. Only Gathers spoke to reporters afterward.
Bryant weighed in on the episode, as well, but downplayed any significance to it.
“Just the nature of football,” Bryant said. “Before this day was even over with, all of that stuff was squashed. You know it’s not an issue. We’ve got one goal. One goal and one goal only and we all understand that. It’s football. That’s not a big deal. That’s one of the smallest issues we’ve dealt with since we’ve been here. That went in one ear and out the other.”
But was Bryant even surprised with the “timeout” Garrett had each of the players take?
“You know some people need a breather,” Bryant said. “Some people need a break, need time to calm down. Nothing wrong with that. It’s not a big issue. You seen them come out, they all finished practice. We had a good day. We had a great day, actually.”
Oft-injured offensive lineman Chaz Green suffered a shoulder injury in practice Saturday and could be out a while, per owner Jerry Jones.
The good news is that magnetic resonance imaging exam taken on Sunday showed no tear in the rotator cuff, Jones said. He said it was a just a pull in his shoulder.
Still, Jones said it will keep Green sidelined for a while, though he is optimistic he will be back before the start of the season. Per another source, Green may a sidelined just a couple of weeks.
Unfortunately, Green’s absence will likely take him out of the competition for the starting spot at left guard with Jonathan Cooper. Both players had been alternating reps with the first team so far in training camp.
Green has played only four games the previous two seasons. He missed his entire rookie season because of a hip injury and then was sidelined after four games, including two starts, in 2016 because of foot and back injuries.
Staff writer Clarence E. Hill Jr. contributed to this report.