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Cowboys cut Ross!
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Old 02 Dec 2003, 08:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Cowboys cut Ross!

Nick Eatman
DallasCowboys.com Staff Writer
December 2, 2003, 7:15 p.m. (CST)

IRVING, Texas - Back in training camp, head coach Bill Parcells called cornerback Derek Ross a "street" player.

With just four games to play in the regular season, Parcells and the Cowboys sent Ross back to the streets, surprisingly releasing the second-year cornerback Tuesday afternoon.

The Cowboys did not disclose specific reasons for his release since Parcells was not scheduled to speak to the media on Tuesday. But obviously Ross' release was for reasons other than his on-field performances.

Ross missed Friday's morning run following the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Dolphins. He also did not attend the team's annual hospital visits in Dallas and Fort Worth Monday morning, likely the final straws in what has been a brewing tug-of-war between the team's third cornerback and the head coach ever since training camp.

Ross has been involved in a series of minor incidents during his two-year career in Dallas, including a curfew violation before this summer's preseason game in Pittsburgh and one to close out the season last year at Washington. Last year's third-round draft choice from Ohio State did not start the Pittsburgh game and then injured his right knee that night. Ross already was out with a hip injury for last year's Washington game.

Ross was also fined $10,000 in between being drafted in April of 2002 and his first training camp in San Antonio for a pair of incidents, one occurring at the Rookie Symposium in San Diego when he broke curfew from the hotel.

But the Pittsburgh trip this preseason, which included the missed curfew and knee injury, created issues with Ross and Parcells, all costing Ross a chance to regain the starting position he had nine games his rookie season.

There was a decision for Ross to either have his torn cartilage removed or repaired. Had he chosen to repair the cartilage, he would've been out for the season. Instead, at the encouragement of the team, Ross ended up having the damaged cartilage removed so he could return early in the season. The rehabilitation was diagnosed to be 4-6 weeks.

But Ross didn't return until the sixth week of the season, some eight weeks after the injury, and there was a feeling Parcells was worried more about football issues at the time with Ross rather than health ones.

Even before the season began, Parcells tried to improve parts of Ross' game. In training camp, Parcells called him a "street" player, referring to his lack of technique and relying more on athletic ability. Parcells maintained at some point that would catch up with Ross, pointing out he would run into a guy who had more "street" in him than Ross did.

Ross did not started a game this year at cornerback, but held two highly-responsible jobs, manning the slot position on the nickel defense and returning kickoffs.

Second-year corner Pete Hunter, who played in the slot the first four games when Ross was rehabilitating from knee surgery, is expected to replace him this week against the Eagles on the nickel defense. Second-year corner Andrew Davison also is expected to get snaps in practice, and could get a look against the Eagles.

"It's a surprise to all of us," Hunter said. "You hate to lose a guy like Ross. He's such a talented player. I don't know exactly how things are going to go. But I know we all have to step up our play."

Hunter had problems earlier in the season in the slot, giving up big pass plays in the first two games against Atlanta and the Giants. Hunter was also flagged often for defensive holding and pass interference.

In Ross' first game back from the injury Hunter started in the nickel against the Eagles, but was called for two defensive penalties. On Philadelphia's final drive, Ross replaced Hunter in the slot when the Cowboys forced a Donovan McNabb fumble to preserve a 23-21 win on Oct. 12. Ross then started the next seven games in the slot.

The Cowboys will likely use rookie wide receiver Zuriel Smith or running back Aveion Cason to return kickoffs, along with rookie running back Erik Bickerstaff, who was signed to the 53-man roster to take Ross' place. Smith has been inactive for five of the past six games, but does have the team's longest return of the season, a 52-yarder against the Eagles that led to Billy Cundiff's winning field goal.

The Cowboys also signed rookie running back ReShard Lee to replace Bickerstaff on the practice squad. Lee was with the team in training camp before spraining his MCL in his right knee, resulting in an injury settlement. He recently worked out for the team two weeks ago.

Cutting Ross will cost the Cowboys $75,000 on the salary cap next season (the remaining third of his prorated signing bonus), which is nearly $300,000 less than his expected third-year salary. Ross, a third-round pick in 2002, signed a seven-year contract that was reduced to a three-year deal because Ross met playing-time incentives last year. In fact, Ross started nine games as a rookie and tied with Roy Williams for the team lead with five interceptions.

"I think it's pretty eye-opening because we know Derek can definitely play," said rookie tight end Jason Witten, a third-round pick this year. "But it says that we need to do what the coach says and be a coach-able player. I know Coach has his reasons. You have to take care of things off-the-field."

And this isn't the first time Parcells has released a player because of off-the-field issues. Just before the start of training camp in July, the Cowboys waived second-year safety Keith Davis after he was shot a month earlier outside a Dallas night club. Davis was shot in the hip and hand and was expected to be healthy enough to play, but was cut one day before the first practice.

The Cowboys also waived cornerback Dwayne Goodrich a month after he was arrested on three accounts in a hit-and-run accident that killed two people. Goodrich, however, was expected to be released during the off-season anyway after three unproductive seasons.

"I think we knew coming into this whole thing that he means business," tight end Dan Campbell said. "If you're not taking care of yourself off the field, you're not going to be around. That goes for everyone. Dan Campbell won't be around if I don't do what I'm supposed to. It's pretty cut and dry with him."

For Ross, he found out the "cut" part of it on Tuesday.

dallascowboys.com
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Damn what a dumb move by Parcells. What the hell was he thinking. I liked Ross alot, and he's played good all season. He's young and has alot of potential. Now the Cowboys are really thin at the corner position. Ross must of done something really bad to piss off Parcells though.
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Old 02 Dec 2003, 09:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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as do I Ross was damn good last year that was most definately a bad move
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Old 02 Dec 2003, 09:44 PM   #3 (permalink)
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That's the kind of coach Parcells is.

You fuck up, you're done.
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Old 03 Dec 2003, 02:01 AM   #4 (permalink)
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then why arent glenn galloway and bryant gone they have fucked up in games this year
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Old 03 Dec 2003, 05:58 AM   #5 (permalink)
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^^ Cause they all ready have a good saftey in Roy Williams

They got shittay 4th and 5th wide outs
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Old 03 Dec 2003, 06:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by §yNdere££@
then why arent glenn galloway and bryant gone they have fucked up in games this year
There are different situation. He's not going to cut Galloway because they would take a huge cap hit. Bryant is young, and has huge pontenial, and has already showed it many times. And for Glenn, he's been our most consistance recivers all season. And plus the way they have Carter playing they need 3 good recivers for him to succeed. He's not going to cut any of them because of drop balls, and missed assignments.
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Old 03 Dec 2003, 01:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I am just proving a point that just cuz you fuck up some doesnt mean you get cut
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Old 03 Dec 2003, 03:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I am just proving a point that just cuz you fuck up some doesnt mean you get cut
ya I seen what you mean. and I agree with you. Just because he fucked up sometimes it doesn't mean you have to cut him. Its only his second season, so he can't be perfect.
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Old 03 Dec 2003, 03:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I juust hope someone picks him up because he deserves to play
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