When the Cowboys announced that they were drafting Oklahoma State wide-out Dez Bryant, Patrick Crayton’s heart fell to the pit of his stomach. Crayton had been battling for a receiver spot since he was drafted by the Cowboys in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL draft.
Crayton is a student of math. He knew with the money the Cowboys had invested in fellow receiver Roy Williams, the rise of Miles Austin, and now the drafting of Dez Bryant, the Cowboys had a lot invested in the receiving corp of the Cowboys and he just might end up being the odd man out.
After doing those equations, Crayton decided that his only option was to display his displeasure of the situation by avoiding the Cowboys facility and skipping voluntary Organized Team Activities, all the while working out at, former olympian, Michael Johnson’s Training Center. Crayton had boycotted the Cowboys spring activities under protest, saying he wanted assurance or to be cut early so he can acclimate himself to a new team and city in time for the new season.
Well, on Tuesday, that boycott came to an end. Crayton was back in Dallas practising with his teammates. Maybe he realized it would be nice to see everyone and get some reps in, maybe he thought he was doing more harm than good by missing out on practice, or maybe his agent just thought it would be a better business decision. Whatever the reason, Crayton was back and looking rather sharp.
While this week’s practices remain voluntary until Friday when the first mandatory mini-camp takes place, Crayton thought it would be good to get back into the rhythm early. “You don’t come into a minicamp cold,” Crayton said. “You’ve got to get back into the function and the swing of things before you just jump into a ring.”
Crayton was pestered by reporters trying to get him to answer about his future in which he stayed rather calm and collected, but refrained from taking the bait. “Right now I’m not worried about being released,” Crayton announced. “I’m not going to sit here right now and complain about things I can’t control. If I go out there and give it my all and bust my tail and do what I’m capable of doing, I’ll be here…If that’s not the case when it comes down to it, and the numbers get crunched and everything and I’m not here, I don’t know what to tell you. But you’re going to get my all everyday.”
Crayton’s attitude and demeanor was no shock to most of the Cowboys, including Dez Bryant who tweaked his hamstring in practice but it is not expected to be serious.
Head coach Wade Phillips and the rest of the team were just glad to have him back. “I told him it was good to have him back, and that’s it,” Phillips said. “He’s a pro. They decide what they want to do. It’s voluntary and I’m glad he volunteered to come back today.”
A sentiment shared by most, if not all, the Cowboys.