Receivers Going Real Deep

labeled it the other day.

And I know what you're thinking, that everyone around here is swallowing the Kool-Aid on Price, the seventh-year veteran who sort of flamed out in Atlanta, which was willing to close its eyes on that first-round pick given up in 2003 to acquire him, along with the $5 million cap hit that must be absorbed next season for his release.

But take this into consideration, and certainly the Cowboys did:

"I was with him for a year; I know what kind of guy he is," said Cowboys quarterback Drew Bledsoe, who teamed up with Price at Buffalo in 2002 for 94 completions and vouched for him last week when asked. "It's not a risk for the team to make a move on him.

"He's got the complete package, and although he might not be as tall as you'd like (5-11), he has explosive speed, very good quickness, he catches the ball and he's smart. No downsides - and he's excited to be here."

And this:

"I went against him a lot," said veteran corner Aaron Glenn of their days in the AFC East. "He's fast, and has great quickness. Anytime you can bring another weapon in, and he is not trippin' on his ego, that can only help your offense."

So you didn't just tell Parcells what he wanted to hear to help the guy get a job?

Glenn jerked his head around, and with a wry smile, said, "I'm too old to be beating around the bush."

And then there was Price himself. He said all the right things, and you know what, I'm guessing he meant them, because if he didn't, he had other alternatives. He didn't have to sign with the Cowboys. He didn't have to come in here under Parcells' conditions of, "I told him what the situation is. Here is where we are and he has to decide (if he wants to be here). I told him he's not cruising in here to be the starter, and he was fine with that, and I kinda liked that.

"I did not try to recruit Peerless."

Yet he still signed with the Cowboys without having his ego rubbed, although the Cowboys nearly stuffed his wallet with the same amount of cash he was due in Atlanta ($2 million base salary), along with a promise to pay him even more if he performed to certain levels.

And while he might seem a mercenary, signing for only one year, likely in an attempt to boost his market value for next year's free agency, remember, Quincy Morgan, the guy sacrificed to make room for Price, was on the last year of his contract, too.

"I'm confident with the situation, and I know I have to earn my spot," Price said. "I feel like I can come in and contribute. Fresh start, that's fine, whatever people want to call it. But I just want the opportunity to make plays and have fun again playing football."

So you're OK with Parcells saying you have to define your role?

"Obviously I feel that way, or I wouldn't have come here," Price said. "I'm fine with that, I knew that coming in. (Parcells) just shot it straight. 'I'm not going to promise you anything. You earn your stripes and you play.'"

How much he plays, or even if he plays, in the opener is unknown. He has to learn not only a new offense, but a new side of the field. Price, for starters, will become Johnson's backup. But he also becomes Glenn's compadre in stretching the field. That's key, especially since the Cowboys really didn't have another guy capable of getting such separation.

Now Parcells isn't about to change his offensive philosophy just because he acquired a new toy on Monday. Don't expect a whole bunch of four-receiver sets, or for him to have amnesia and become pass-happy once again. He still wants to play a certain way, and unless they are behind, that way will be not last year's way.

But if he's forced to, at least the Cowboys have a few weapons. In fact, more weapons at wide receiver than they've had since 1983, maybe the only other full season in team history they have been this deep at wide receiver. They might even be deeper if Crayton is what he appears to be.

All I know is this: In 1999, Chan Gailey's final year, his receiving corps consisted of Irvin for three games, Rocket Ismail, Mills, Jason Tucker and Ogden. And in 2001, poor Dave Campo's second season, his receiving corps consisted of Ismail, Galloway, Darrin Chiaverini, Reggie


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