IRVING, Texas – Not that it wasn't a little dramatic, but no one can really be that surprised by what happened here Wednesday afternoon at Valley Ranch.
Ok, maybe the $45 million guaranteed was higher than some of us thought, but I think a lot of people, including myself, really thought both sides would come together and get a deal done before the deadline.
Dez wanted it badly. And apparently, the Cowboys did as well.
Ok, so the question we all wanted to know was how serious Dez was about missing the entire camp if he didn't get a new deal. He told me Wednesday afternoon that he's a man of his word and would've gone through with it.
Whether that's true or not, we'll never know.
But, it sounded like it got the Cowboys' attention, which is all that mattered.
Now, we all know Dez wasn't going to miss any games. That didn't make any sense at all and he had no leverage by sitting out of regular-season games. All that happens there is he loses more than $700,000 a week and hurts his teammates' chances of competing for the big prize.
His only real play was to sit out of training camp. Apparently, the Cowboys put a hefty value on Dez being in Oxnard when the team reports to sunny California on July 28.
Forget the Allen Iverson line of "we talkin' about practice," because these practices make a difference, especially the way Dez participates. Not since Michael Irvin was running routes against air an hour after practice in the triple-digit heat of Wichita Falls have I seen a player practice like Dez. He sets the tone with every practice and his teammates take his lead.[embeddedad0]
When he starts talking trash to Brandon Carr in a 1-on-1 drill, he carries over his enthusiasm to the next play when Cole Beasley is battling with Orlando Scandrick. And before you know it, he's in Devin Street's ear trying to pump up before or after a battle with Tyler Patmon. And so on, and so on.
Before you know, the entire 90-man roster is going at it because Dez is out there setting the tone.
While it looks like he's playing the antagonist at times, like last year when he ended up fighting with J.J. Wilcox, it actually gives the defense a chance to rally around each other and create even more camaraderie.
That's Dez. That's what he brings to this team, and it's happened from the moment he stepped onto the field in 2010 in San Antonio.
Every year, the staff writers come together to wrap up training camp and we always fill out a few categories. One of them is "Camp MVP" and it's gotten to the point now that we always just answer it with something like, "Other than the obvious selection of Dez, I'll go with …" It's just too easy because no player practices better than Dez.
The Cowboys know this. They felt this and they made sure they have it again when the team hits the field later this month in California.