Calvin Hill's statement hits the right note
It wasn't from Jerry Jones or Jason Garrett. It was from Calvin Hill.
Hill is the Cowboys' consultant for player development. He was the man Jones went to in the 1990s for help when his players were out of control. Jones knew Hill could form a program to solve problems, which was the case in the 1980s when Hill was asked by Cleveland Browns management to help their players with drug problems.
Two Cowboys have been arrested within the last two months for alcohol-related offenses. Josh Brent was charged with one count of intoxication manslaughter, which resulted in the death of practice squad player Jerry Brown back in December. Last week, Ratliff was charged with driving while intoxicated after his pickup truck hit a tractor trailer miles from where Brown died.
When I see that Hill is releasing a statement on behalf of the team, it tells me two things: 1. The Cowboys may believe their team has problems with alcohol. 2. They're taking Ratliff and Brent's arrests seriously because there could be a fear the NFL suspends both players for a long time, regardless of the legal process.
Hill's statement is a positive sign that the Cowboys are trying to solve their problems away from the field.
"Having recently experienced the most tragic of circumstances regarding this issue, we, as an organization, understand the ultimate consequences of driving while impaired," the statement began. "We know that one incident is too many. The critical goal is to effect the decision making process in the hours before the wrong decision is made."
A few days after Brent's incident, Hill told USA Today that maybe Cowboys' players should use a device called SafeKey, which prevents a car from starting if the driver is impaired.
"Obviously, we do whatever we can do," Hill told USA Today. "I don't know what more we can do. We're always examining and going over things."
The NFLPA might prevent something like this because of the controlling nature of it. The NFL might not would allow it either.
But when you see two incidents involving Cowboys players, it might be time to do something different.
"Our player assistance programs in the areas of preventing incidents such as these are at the highest level in professional sports, but we are always looking to do better and for ways to improve," Hill's statement said. " e will continue to draw upon the best expertise and resources available, both internally and from outside the organization, to work toward being the best in the areas of education, prevention, and effecting the right decisions."
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