Lee, Frederick Respond To Dez's Tweet Storm

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OXNARD, Calif. – As can often be the case at training camp, the Dallas Cowboys saw a full news cycle descend on them in the span of a few short hours on Friday.

In the moments before the Cowboys took the field for Friday afternoon's practice, Dez Bryant took to Twitter to air out some grievances over his release from the roster back in April.

Prominently featured in Bryant's tweets were Sean Lee and Travis Frederick – two veteran leaders who Bryant accused of going behind his back to get him released. The insinuation goes all the way back to the spring, when Bryant said that the team's "Garrett Guys" helped remove him from the team.

Approached about the issue immediately following practice, Lee didn't mince words with reporters. The veteran linebacker, who was drafted in the same class as Bryant, offered one stern statement.

"First thing: to say that I can get anybody off the team and have any input on the roster is absurd," Lee said. "Second thing: I love Dez and I want the best for him. To be honest, we did butt heads, because I wanted Dez to be more accountable to this team and his teammates. And to be honest with you, a lot of the team felt that way. I think he needs to look at himself and hold himself accountable. Thank you."

Frederick wasn't quite so firm, but he did say that he had a high opinion of his former teammate and would still consider him a friend. The veteran center also chuckled at the notion that a fifth-year player would have sway over roster decisions.

"I think I've definitely been on record saying that I thought Dez was a great teammate. I would've argued he was one of the best teammates I've had," Frederick said. "He's a guy that has taught me a lot. I'm not sure where he's coming from there."

The entire situation was prompted by a tweet from SiriusXM NFL Radio, which conducted an interview with Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones on Friday afternoon. In the interview, Jones suggested that Pro Bowl players like Bryant and Jason Witten can put pressure on a young quarterback.

"He's got to trust the system, which at times last year, there was pressure … with Dez in his ear and to some degree Jason in his ear. Those great players want the ball," Jones said.

The quote went to another level after the fact, though, when SiriusXM tweeted that excerpt without mentioning Witten. That tweet has since been deleted, although it was what originally prompted Bryant to start tweeting.

Jones also spoke with reporters following practice and reiterated that he thought highly of Bryant.

"No one knows more about what I think of Dez than me, and it certainly wasn't intended to be negative," he said.

Pressed for clarification, Jones said it was an issue that should be familiar to any football team with talented pass-catchers.

"You've got great players like Dez and Witten – they want the ball. Everybody sees it, it's on every team," he said. "The great players, the great receivers, the guys who catch the ball, want the ball. They let their quarterbacks know that sometimes. I was a quarterback, I understand that. But certainly in no way was it intended to be negative."

Within two hours, the firestorm had been started, fueled and settled. It might not amount to much, especially given that Bryant is no longer a member of the Cowboys. But it is a fitting reminder of the emotions that go into the decision to part ways with a star player.

"First thing: to say that I can get anybody off the team and have any input on the roster is absurd," Lee said. "Second thing: I love Dez and I want the best for him. To be honest, we did butt heads, because I wanted Dez to be more accountable to this team and his teammates. And to be honest with you, a lot of the team felt that way. I think he needs to look at himself and hold himself accountable. Thank you."

Frederick wasn't quite so firm, but he did say that he had a high opinion of his former teammate and would still consider him a friend. The veteran center also chuckled at the notion that a fifth-year player would have sway over roster decisions.

"I think I've definitely been on record saying that I thought Dez was a great teammate. I would've argued he was one of the best teammates I've had," Frederick said. "He's a guy that has taught me a lot. I'm not sure where he's coming from there."

The entire situation was prompted by a tweet from SiriusXM NFL Radio, which conducted an interview with Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones on Friday afternoon. In the interview, Jones suggested that Pro Bowl players like Bryant and Jason Witten can put pressure on a young quarterback.

"He's got to trust the system, which at times last year, there was pressure … with Dez in his ear and to some degree Jason in his ear. Those great players want the ball," Jones said.

The quote went to another level after the fact, though, when SiriusXM tweeted that excerpt without mentioning Witten. That tweet has since been deleted, although it was what originally prompted Bryant to start tweeting.

Jones also spoke with reporters following practice and reiterated that he thought highly of Bryant.

"No one knows more about what I think of Dez than me, and it certainly wasn't intended to be negative," he said.

Pressed for clarification, Jones said it was an issue that should be familiar to any football team with talented pass-catchers.

"You've got great players like Dez and Witten – they want the ball. Everybody sees it, it's on every team," he said. "The great players, the great receivers, the guys who catch the ball, want the ball. They let their quarterbacks know that sometimes. I was a quarterback, I understand that. But certainly in no way was it intended to be negative."

Within two hours, the firestorm had been started, fueled and settled. It might not amount to much, especially given that Bryant is no longer a member of the Cowboys. But it is a fitting reminder of the emotions that go into the decision to part ways with a star player.

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