Ball Hog or Competitor?

that he shouldn't have blown up like he did, but it happens."

When it happens before the live cameras, we have a story, or at least we think we do. Well, no, we do, because whether an incident is perceived correctly or not, once it's out there, it becomes the thing about which reporters grill everyone in sight in the few daily minutes they have access to players. So Wednesday, there was Bledsoe in front of his locker, saying, "Jason and I have a great relationship, and there is no problem between us. We sat together on the flight home and we probably spent 45 minutes talking about how he wants to help us win. If I played a position like that, I'd want the ball in my hands at the end of the game, too. We have no problem with selfishness in this locker room. We have a bunch of talented guys who want to win."

Witten is certainly sorry about what his sideline outburst seemed to convey Sunday, but he is adamant about being able to help the team by being involved in the offense. "I wasn't frustrated at anybody in particular," he said Wednesday. "It was just the fact we didn't get it in there as an offense, and being a player who they depend on, I feel like we should have got a score there."

Here's a question for Witten, then: suppose you're Bledsoe, or Bill Parcells, or play-caller Sean Payton. You've got a tight end who wants the ball, and three wide receivers and a running back. How are you going to keep them all happy?

"That's why they get paid the big bucks," he says with a grin. "It is a tough situation, and looking back on it, that's where I've got to understand that we've got to play together, and somebody's going to make big plays each week. We have to realize it's not about who makes the plays, as long as we're making them. We've got a lot of weapons out there, and we have to use all of them."

Now THAT sounds like a mature artist, and in fact, that may be part of what eats at Jason Witten. The Pro Bowl success he enjoyed last season, the best ever for a Dallas tight end, came to him at age 22, in his second year. Too much, too soon? Is he still learning the ups and downs of his profession?

Dan Campbell thinks that's a big part of what happened last week. "I think there's something to be said for that," Campbell nods, clearly wanting to protect his young protege while knowing he can't. "I think he's learning to adjust to the whole situation. He's kind of put in a different role now. He knows what he can do. He knows he can help us."

A little knowledge like that can be a dangerous thing in the hands of the immature. Witten isn't that, but he IS still just 23 years of age and on a big, bright stage. Someday, he'll realize that the lesson he's learning now is that handling adversity is character-building, but it can be a lot harder to handle success.

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