Jim Garrett, Jason Garrett’s father and a longtime scout for the Dallas Cowboys, once famously remarked that, “This isn’t the Boy Scouts--this is professional football.”
That is, in constructing a professional football team, you’re not always going to find 53 guys of sterling integrity and flawless track records. You’re going to have some rougher characters in there. Some guys with “character issues,” maybe. That’s pretty inevitable in the NFL.
But the last time the Cowboys drafted a player with so-called “character issues,” it was Dez Bryant in 2010--he had been suspended the previous year at Oklahoma State for lying to NCAA investigators--and after a little shakiness in the beginning, that’s worked out very well for both sides.
The key, Jason Garrett said this week, is being diligent when looking at any potential pick and making decisions on a prospect-by-prospect basis.
“We believe strongly in culture in our organization and on our football team and we work very hard at that,” Garrett said, per the team’s official website. “I think the first thing when you’re trying to establish the right kind of culture is, who do you allow in these doors? And you’re going to have a better culture if you’re bringing better guys in.
“Having said that, if you’ve done that year after year after year, and you’ve developed that, you can absorb one of these guys maybe more than you could if your culture wasn’t quite as good and you didn’t have that quality of character on your team. Having said that, that doesn’t give you carte blanche just to bring guys in and say, ‘We can absorb it. We can coach it out of them. We’ll create the right environment.’ These are really, really hard discussions that we have.”