With Issues On & Off Field, RB Joseph Randle Officially Released By Cowboys

IRVING, Texas -  This was supposed to be a breakout season for Joseph Randle, who entered the year as the starting running back.

As it turned out, he didn't even make it to the halfway point on the roster.

The Cowboys have officially waived Randle on Tuesday, ending his three-year saga that included a variety of off-the-field issues, some of which have still have him facing potential suspensions and/or fines from the NFL.

But the Cowboys decided to cut ties with him Tuesday, trimming the running back position down to three tailbacks again – Darren McFadden, Christine Michael and Rod Smith.

Tuesday morning, owner/GM Jerry Jones said on his weekly radio show on 105.3 The Fan, that Randle wouldn't play this week against the Eagles and wouldn't speculate when asked about his status for the rest of the year. Randle missed last week's game against Seattle, both for personal reasons but also dealing with an oblique injury he suffered against the Giants on Oct. 25.

[embeddedad0]Randle started that game, had two carries for 24 yards, before leaving with the injury. This season, Randle has 76 carries for 315 yards and a team-high four touchdowns.

But even his on-field product included some issues, including a game in New Orleans when he went against coaching orders and jumped over the pile to reach the end zone. While he managed to break the goal line and score, he fumbled the ball when hit by defenders. Despite the "six points" as he answered in a post-game press conference, Randle was benched for most of the second half against the Saints.

His off-the-field issues have certainly been more troubling and don't appear to be completely behind him.

Randle could be facing a suspension by the NFL, who has investigated some of his incidents over the last 12 months. In February, Randle was arrested for possession of marijuana after police responded to a domestic violence call at a Wichita hotel. The police report also stated that Randle broke a car window and threatened the mother of his son with a gun. The charges were dropped in April, but the league's investigation determined a violation of the personal conduct policy.

Randle first appeared in the news last October, when he was arrested at a Frisco, Texas, shopping mall for attempting to shoplift underwear and a tester bottle of cologne. That incident was compounded later when video footage surfaced of Randle making disparaging comments about teammates during his time in Frisco City Jail.

And his comments in front of cameras also generated headlines. This summer he told reporters that DeMarco Murray had left "meat on the bone" despite his record-setting season in 2014, hinting that he expected to not only carry the load this year, but possibly even improve the running game.

As it turned out, Randle never had a 100-yard game. He lost his starting spot, and now his roster spot as well.

Nick Eatman is the author of the recently published *If These Walls Could Talk: Dallas Cowboys, a collection of stories from the Cowboys' locker room, sideline and press box, with a foreword written by Darren Woodson.*

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