Cowboys coach Jason Garrett consistently talks about building his team with the “right kind of guys.”
With the signing of Greg Hardy, a standout defensive end who spent most of last season on the commissioner’s exempt list and could face an additional suspension in 2015 for a domestic violence incident, there is plenty of people wondering what exactly Garrett means by that.
How does Hardy fit the bill?
Heck, how does Josh Brent, convicted of intoxicated manslaughter, pass the “right kind of guy” test?
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Or even someone like Joseph Randle, who was caught red-handed stealing underwear and cologne from a department store last season?
Garrett spoke about his “right kind of guy” mantra at length at the NFL Combine last month. Most of it was geared towards how he and the Cowboys evaluate college players, but he said it also applies to free agents.
Asked what he meant by the phrase “right kind of guy,” Garrett said: “The idea of defining something. I just think there are characteristics that the right kind of guy has. Is he the right kind of person? He has great personal character and integrity. He's got great football character and integrity. He works hard at it. He wants to be great. He wants to be a great teammate. He is a consistent person. I can go on and on.
“It's just the make up of the person. A lot of it has to do with his desire to be great. His desire to be part of something great. His willingness to work at it and function in a team environment.”
Garrett went on to say “red flags” don’t necessarily erase a player from being considered the “right kind of guy.” Just look at how the Cowboys helped Rolando McClain resurrect his career last season.
“There is no black and white here,” Garrett said. “This guy had this ... that's not how we look at it. You want to investigate everything that has happened off the field, but you have to understand where the person is, where the player is right now.
“A lot of times we will interview these guys at the Combine and they will some issue that happened early on in their college career. We got to get our arms around what that is. Is this guy a perpetual fill in the blank? Or is this a one time incident when he was 17 or 18 years old?
"So we investigate it. We try to turn over all the rocks and make sure we get a feel for what the player is before we bring him into our doors. That is a really important thing. You want to bring the right guys in and hopefully develop them in the right way.”
Garrett didn’t need long to respond to a follow-up question as to whether that philosophy applied to free agents, saying: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”
For now, Hardy has apparently passed Garrett’s “right kind of guy” speech. Time will tell whether that proves to be the right decision.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760