IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys closed the door on Brian Waters' season on Saturday, but they don't sound ready to part ways with him for good.
Waters was placed on injured reserve during the weekend after tearing his triceps in the Week 8 loss to Detroit. Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the team spent several days examining any avenues that would allow Waters to continue playing, but it was to no avail.
"We tested every possible scenario, every avenue to see if he could play," Garrett said. "Whether it's bracing it up or whatever, but the nature of being an offensive lineman and not having use of your triceps -- that's what they do. Every snap, that's what they do."
Garrett was asked repeatedly last week if the organization had come to any kind of conclusion about whether to move forward without Waters or keep him on the roster. Evidently, the decision to move on without the six-time Pro Bowler was not an easy one.
"He's a tough guy. He wanted to play. We had some late-night conversations about finding a way to have him play," Garrett said. "At the end of the day, it was a medical decision that said he's not going to be able to do this."
The Cowboys expect Waters to have surgery on the triceps "in the next couple of weeks." The veteran will be 37 years old when the 2014 season starts, but given how he played over eight weeks without going through training camp, Garrett said he'd like to have him around for the remainder of the season – and possibly into the future.
"We certainly want him to be around, as he's on IR, to continue to have that impact," he said. "We'll see how everything comes out with the surgery, but we're certainly very open to having him back."
With three starters on the Cowboys' offensive line having played three seasons or fewer, Garrett said Waters' intangible impact was invaluable – and something he hopes continues even with Waters sidelined.
"He had a real positive impact and his demeanor and his temperament was contagious, particularly for that offensive line group," he said. "We have so many young guys. Tyron Smith is young. Ron Leary is young. Travis Frederick is young. All these guys are young football players and to have a veteran guy like that to kind of show them how to do it, it was really good." [embedded_ad]
Here are some more notes from Garrett's Monday media session:
On Health and Coaching
The health of coaches was a pressing topic, just one day after Houston coach Gary Kubiak collapsed at halftime of the Texans' loss to Indianapolis, and less than a week after Denver coach John Fox had heart issues of his own.
"We wish Foxy and Gary nothing but the best in getting back from these health situations they're involved in," Garrett said. "Coaches work hard. That's well-documented. We work long hours and there's a lot of commitment that goes into the jobs that we have, but nobody would trade these jobs for anything."
Garrett said self-discipline is something coaches have to be mindful of when balancing personal health with the rigors of the job.
"We're fortunate to do what we do, and certainly you have to try to have balance in your life and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle given some of the circumstances that we find ourselves in, but that's what we signed up for," he said.
He reiterated his well wishes for both Kubiak and Fox, but there was room for levity. Asked if it was harder to achieve balance in his own life or balance between passing and running, Garrett smiled.
"That depends. Depends how we're blocking," he said.
With all the details coming out of Miami this week about rookie hazing, Garrett was asked about the importance of keeping an eye on player conduct.
He declined to comment about the specifics of the situation with the Dolphins, but he was also asked about the role of hazing on teams he's been with as both a player and a coach.
"There's some things that have happened in football for a long, long time -- rookies singing at dinner, rookies carrying shoulder pads, rookies buying fried chicken as you go to the airplane -- all that stuff," he said. "That's been around forever and that's part of the process and part of what this league has been about for a long, long time."
Small rites of passage, so to speak, are something Garrett said hopefully build team chemistry and bond players together. If it's not constructive or productive, however, it would need to be stopped.
"Hopefully it's always done in a way where it's developing team camaraderie and team chemistry and it's good for your team," he said. "If it comes close to crossing the line, it certainly has to be addressed. I haven't seen it like that in my career as a player, as a coach."