FRISCO, Texas– There wasn't one specific tipping point in the decision to part ways with Joseph Randle, to hear it from Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones, but rather a series of them.
The Cowboys released their former starting running back on Tuesday afternoon, citing personal issues he needs to focus on fixing before he returns to football. There have been no shortage of them during Randle's turbulent time in Dallas.
"Everybody wants to point to an issue – this issue or that issue. But as you just mentioned, it's the full body of work," Jones said. "We have to look at it, and obviously I think, right now, football needs to be on the back burner for Joe. He needs to get his hands around some things."
Neither Stephen Jones nor Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones wanted to elaborate on the problems plaguing Randle, but they were enough to prompt a release. The strange events of the past week had to have affected that decision, as Randle left the team's Valley Ranch facility on Oct. 28 to attend to a personal matter and did not return.
"Sometimes, maybe it's just too much on your plate and you need to focus on things off the field rather than things on the field," Stephen Jones said.
There's also the matter of potential NFL discipline, which has hung over Randle for the past week. The third-year running back was arrested in Wichita, Kan., last February during the course of a domestic dispute, and there were reports that a league investigation could result in a multiple-game suspension.
Asked about the possibility of a suspension, Jerry Jones declined to speculate.
"Well, it's a fair question. But we really don't need to go there. We don't want to go there as an organization as far as our relationship with Randle," he said. "We just think it's time for us to not have him on the roster. That's the decision that we made today, and we stand ready to help him work through any of his other issues. That's as far as we can go."
The release leaves the Cowboys with the trio of Darren McFadden, Christine Michael and Rod Smith as the only running backs on the roster. McFadden entered the season as Randle's backup, but he seized the starting role with a 152-yard effort against the Giants.
In two games as the team's starter, McFadden has carried 49 times for 216 yards – an average of 4.4 yards per carry. Behind him, Michael has carried the ball 10 total times for 38 yards in the last two games. Smith played sparingly against Seattle on Sunday, but he has yet to log any stats for the Cowboys.
Despite that, the front office expressed confidence in the group going forward without Randle.
"We're in good shape at running back or we wouldn't have made this decision," Jerry Jones said.
As for Randle himself, it remains unclear what exactly he needs to sort out before his football career continues. The portion of his career with the Dallas Cowboys has ended, but as he has done for other players in the past, Jerry Jones added that he's willing to help Randle if he can.
"Any time we can help a player or former player, we want to do that. To the end that, in any way the organization can help him work through the things he needs to resolve right now, we're going to be there for him," he said. "He's a young man that has great potential, smart as a whip. He has made some bad decisions, but that's happened to anybody breathing, so we wish him the very best. I have all the reason in the world to think that he can right his ship."