Giants OC Jason Garrett tests positive for COVID-19

New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett has tested positive for COVID-19, the team announced on Thursday. He will continue to work remotely.

Giants coaches and players did not meet on either Monday or Tuesday, and the majority of the coaching staff worked remotely. New York will meet remotely and will not practice today.

According to the team, tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens will serve as the team’s offensive play caller on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Kitchens spent one season as the head coach of the Browns back in 2019.

The 54-year-old Garrett is in his first season as Giants offensive coordinator and spent ten seasons as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

Giants’ Garrett on Engram: ‘He’s certainly going to be a big part of our offense going forward’

In the first six quarters of the Giants’ 2020 season, Evan Engram caught two passes for nine yards.

But in the two most recent quarters, played last Sunday in Chicago, the multi-talented tight end had six receptions for 65 yards, both team-leading figures for the entire game. That included four catches in the fourth quarter of the Giants’ 17-13 loss to the Bears.

So, did the light come on for Engram?

“I definitely kind of got going. I got into a rhythm, kind of got settled in,” Engram said today. “That was our mindset as an offense coming out for the second half. To get going, make some plays, get the ball rolling. That was just me kind of getting opportunities and cashing in on them, doing my job.”

Engram ‘s revival was due to old-fashioned stick-to-itiveness.

“You just have to keep banging away, you really do,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said.  “There were some plays in the first game and the early part of the second game that certainly Evan would like to have back. You keep playing, you keep banging and he’s done a really good job working hard in practice. He’s playing hard. He had some opportunities as that game wore on and he took advantage of them. He won some one on one matchups, he made some runs after the catch that were impressive for us. Big, explosive plays like we’re talking about.”

Engram’s personal revival began modestly, with a seven-yard reception on the first play of what became a 95-yard touchdown drive. He later caught a six-yarder that advanced the ball to the Bears’ seven-yard line.

Engram had three catches for 30 yards on a fourth-quarter possession that ended with Graham Gano’s 37-yard field goal. And he accounted for the longest play on the game’s final series, a short pass that Engram turned into a 22-yard gain. But the Giants couldn’t get into the end zone and walked off the field without that desired first victory.

But if Engram can continue to be a big threat in the passing game, the Giants will improve their chances of earning it this week against the San Francisco 49ers in MetLife Stadium.

“He’s certainly going to be a big part of our offense going forward,” Garrett said. “Just love his approach, love everything about it. He’ll get better and better and better the more he plays.”

Coach Joe Judge has remained a strong supporter of the fourth-year pro.

“You know what I look at him as? As a developing player,” Judge said. “I think Evan’s young enough where we have not seen his best ball. But he’s a guy that works every day tirelessly. You guys (reporters) saw him through training camp. This guy really empties the tank. You see him every day in practice. This guy, when you look at his GPS reports after practice in terms of yards and speed and all of that stuff, he’s a guy you have to monitor and kind of back off a little bit because this guy has no governor on himself. He goes full speed all the time. He works tirelessly.”

“The guys respond to him. He does a great job preparing himself. He’s very mentally tough. He’s improving all the time. A lot of guys got on him after that first game in terms of where the production was. I think we saw a glimpse of that last week. He really made some good plays for us at key times, and he’ll continue to do that throughout the season when the opportunity comes his way. He doesn’t have to force it. He doesn’t have to do anything outside of his own responsibility or job. When the play comes his way, he has to be in position to go ahead and finish it. We have confidence he will.”

So does Engram, who refuses to pin his slow start on trying to get comfortable in the offensive system Garrett installed in the team’s virtual offseason.

“I don’t want to make any excuse,’ Engram said. “I think everybody is in the same boat. Everybody has had a different offseason and had to overcome some things with the circumstances that COVID has kind of presented.”

Now that he’s made his first substantial contribution this season, Engram expects to accomplish much more.

Via: giants.com

Giants’ Barkley on Tiki: ‘I’m not going to look at it as disrespect; I’m going to look at it as a challenge’

Saquon Barkley and his offensive coordinator today delivered figurative stiff arms in response to what has become the media’s issue of the week regarding the Giants: the third-year running back’s pass protection skills.

The tempest was ignited when Tiki Barber – the Giants’ career rushing leader- criticized Barkley for his pass protection.

Barkley, who rushed for six yards and caught six passes in the Giants’ 26-16 season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Monday night, has received criticism for his blocking in the past and he’s not losing sleep after hearing it again.

“Obviously, Tiki is a legend,” Barkley said. “He has done a lot of great things for this franchise. I’m not going to look at it as disrespect; I’m going to look at it as a challenge. Same thing with him, like everyone else, I really don’t care about outside opinions. I’m really focused about the opinions in this building. Try to come to work every single day and get better.”

Barkley said pass protection is just one point of emphasis in practice, because he continually works to elevate all facets of his game.

“I come to work every single day with the mindset, try to improve in everything,” he said. “Focus on the little things. Whatever the drill is, focus on that. If it’s the pass game, focus on catching the ball, if it’s pass pro, if it’s run game, focus on making the run cuts and the right reads. When I’m in the open field work on my moves and work on finishing scoring touchdowns.

“I know this is going to be the question or the kind of the theme of this media session about my pass pro. I understand that I probably made some mistakes in pass pro and I put it on film. I know it’s going to keep coming, people are going to keep challenging me. It’s a good way to keep me in and stop me from getting to open space and making plays there too also. I just have to keep working at it, keep getting better and that’s going to be my same answer for the rest of the pass pro questions.”

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett conceded Barkley’s blocking wasn’t perfect against Pittsburgh, but he fully supports the third-year back.

“Great respect for Tiki, first of all,” Garrett said. “He was a teammate of mine (from 2000-03). I’ve known him for a long time and I really respect him as a person and as a player in this league. Having said that, we really try to focus on what we need to do with our guys and do internal evaluations of how they play.

“One of the things we love about Saquon is his desire to be a complete back. That’s running the football, both inside and outside, as a pass receiver and also as a pass protector. Having said that, he can improve in all areas. That’s something that we like so much about him, is his desire to come in and get better and strive to be a complete back. There were some examples of him blocking well in the passing game the other night. There were some examples of him not blocking as well as he needs to. He knows that. We’re working on that, we’re trying to get him better in that area. But we love his approach, we love his desire to be a complete back, and that’s going to help him and our team going forward.”

Head coach Joe Judge yesterday was the first member of the organization to field a question about Barber’s remarks. And as he most often does, he aimed his response at the team instead of one player.

“Look, we’re all working hard every day to get better at everything we do,” Judge said. “We’re coming out of training camp, we have one game under our belt. There’s not a player or a coach on our team that doesn’t have to improve going into Week 2, and then consistently throughout the season. We have to go ahead and make up some ground quickly. But we have confidence in all of our players. We’re going to work on every technique we have to in all aspects of the game.

“People pay a price to watch us play. Everyone’s opinion is valid if they’re a fan. We have to make sure on the inside we understand what we’re doing and that we prioritize on what we have to work on. But I respect Tiki. Obviously, he’s a guy that knows the game. He’s been a great player for this organization. But we’re going to go ahead and make sure we get everybody rising.”

Though this is not unchartered territory for Barkley, it’s a place he has visited infrequently since his arrival two years ago. The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year is more accustomed to receiving acclaim than negative analysis. He’ll deal with this as he does all games that don’t meet his lofty standards.

“It happened. The game happened,” Barkley said. “I had 15 carries for six yards. I think I tied for the second-lowest (yardage) of all time with 15 carries or more. Guess what? I came to work this week with a smile on my face, ready to work and ready to get better. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you praise me or you say negative things about me. I’m not going to use that motivation because my motivation is to be great myself. I don’t need you guys to push me that way. I need to focus on myself and try building up myself. This week, there’s no extra motivation. There’s no this or that or the third. It’s just try to come in and get the W for the Giants.”

Via: giants.com

Giants’ Garrett on Jones: ‘He clearly has ability’

Jason Garrett knows quarterbacks.

He played the position his entire career, at University High School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio; Princeton University; and with the Dallas Cowboys, for whom he played 41 games, including nine starts. In 9½ season as the Cowboys’ head coach, he tutored productive quarterbacks Tony Romo and Dak Prescott.

Garrett also knows Giants quarterbacks. He was a backup to Kerry Collins from 2000-03. And including his stint as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator, his Dallas teams matched up against Eli Manning 26 times.

Now in his first season as the Giants’ offensive coordinator, Garrett is tasked with developing the new generation of quarterbacks, Daniel Jones. Last Nov. 4, he saw Jones complete 26 of 41 passes for 210 yards and one touchdown in Dallas’ Monday night victory in MetLife Stadium. Garrett taught Jones the Giants offense remotely during the offseason and has finally been able to work with him on the field in the early stages of training camp.

Garrett is excited about what he’s seen and the potential for what lies ahead.

“Since I’ve been here, he’s been a real joy to work with,” Garrett said on a Zoom call today. “There’s no question he is a football guy. He loves football. He’s always so prepared, he’s always studying his stuff, he always has great questions and wants to get better. My experience has been, when you have that kind of approach and that kind of attitude, if you have some ability, you’re going to keep growing and getting better every day, and he’s certainly done that.

“The thing you just like so much about Daniel is just his approach. He clearly has ability. He’s someone who’s big, he’s strong, he’s athletic, he has a really good arm. He has all the tools you’re looking for. But the thing that really jumps out is the approach that he takes every day. Like I said, he’s a ball guy. He loves ball. He works very hard at it and he’s always trying to refine his skills. He’s always trying to gain more knowledge and find a way to become a better quarterback, individually and for our team. That’s what you get most excited about.”

Garrett’s admiration for Jones extends back to his evaluation prior to the 2019 NFL Draft.

“I have great respect for Daniel from my first interactions with him,” Garrett said. “That happened when we started to evaluate him in the draft process when he was coming out of Duke. We weren’t in the quarterback market if you will, so we didn’t do a deep dive study into him. But obviously, we evaluate all of the players. There were so many great things said about him from the people at Duke. We admired his career and weren’t surprised one bit that he was taken in the first round and has had the success that he’s had up to this point. We did get a chance to see him play against us and on tape all throughout last year. Playing as a rookie in the NFL is a challenge. Playing quarterback as a rookie in the NFL is a real challenge. Daniel handled himself really, really well. Again, reflecting back on the reports and everything we knew about him coming out in the draft, it didn’t surprise us that much.”\

Garrett’s pro career spanned from 1993 to 2004. His totals included 165 completions, 2,042 yards and 11 touchdown passes. Garrett was 6-3 as an NFL starter.

In 13 games as a rookie, Jones completed 284 passes and threw for 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns. His record was 3-9.

Garrett is working daily to help Jones improve and grow and he believes his background will help him get the best out of his new pupil

“I did have the opportunity to play quarterback throughout my life,” Garrett said, “so there’s no question in my mind I feel like there can be a connection there and I can relate to these guys, hopefully in a very natural way that can help them get better. Again, I’m excited to do that with Daniel. He’s been really fun to work with up to this point.”

But many challenges await them.

“There are a ton of things that all of our players need to work on,” Garrett said. “It’s our job as coaches to identify those things and try to give them the tools to get better at it. There are certainly a ton of things that our guys have done well that you want to build on. That’s the process that you go through.”

For Garrett and Jones, it is just beginning.

*Garrett also praised another vital player in his offense, third-year running back Saquon Barkley.

“He’s just one of those guys who’s such a good football player,” Garrett said. “We had to try to tackle him in Dallas, and all of our energy was put on that because he’s such a difference-making player. But I want to go back to his approach. Talk about a first-class person. Talk about someone who loves football. Talk about someone who wants to work hard and do everything he can to be the best player he can be, the best teammate he can be. He’s a sterling example of that. He’s been a real joy to work with.’

*Garrett has been an NFL coach every year since 2005, when he began a two-year stint mentoring the Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks under Nick Saban. He could have taken this season off to recharge after getting dismissed in Dallas but chose to join the Giants.

“I had four years of a great experience here with the Giants as a player from 2000 to 2003,” Garrett said. “I have had great admiration for this organization for a long, long time. Certainly, I’ve had great admiration for coach Judge from afar.

“I love coaching football,” Garrett said. “I’m just so fortunate to have been able to play football in the National Football League for 15 years, and now I’ve been coaching since then. I love the game. I love every part about the game, as a player and as a coach. When I had the opportunity to come work for coach (Joe) Judge and the Giants organization, it was just something my wife and I felt was too good of an opportunity to pass up. I’m really excited to be here. I’m learning, trying to grow as a coach, trying to help contribute to this football team in any way that I can.”

 

Courtesy: Michael Eisen/NY Giants
Photo: Giants.com

Joe Judge on Garrett: ‘He does a fantastic job of making in-game adjustments’

Giants coach Joe Judge today announced the three most significant members of his coaching staff: coordinators Jason Garrett (offense), Patrick Graham (defense) and Thomas McGaughey (special teams). Graham will also serve as assistant head coach.

“We’re setting out to develop a smart, tough and really sound football team and that’s going to start with the coordinators setting the tone in each room,” Judge said. “Each one has experience, each one has the ability to run multiples (schemes), put the pressure on the opponent, and each one is an excellent teacher.

“All these guys were priorities to add to our staff. You have a short list when you come into this and you make sure you go ahead and take your time and get those guys in with whatever it takes. The priority is to put the best teachers and the best people around your players so you can form a strong locker room and make them fundamentally sound and situational. And I think all three of these guys bring that to the team.”

Garrett is a former Giants backup quarterback who recently completed a 10-year stint as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach. He was Dallas’ offensive coordinator from 2007 until his appointment as head coach midway through the 2010 season.

The Cowboys consistently had one of the NFL’s most productive offenses under Garrett. In 2019, Dallas had league-high averages of 431.5 yards a game and 6.5 yards per play. The Cowboys were second in the NFL in passing yardage (296.9 a game), fifth in rushing (134.6), tied for second in third-down conversion percentage (47.1 with 96 success in 204 opportunities) and sixth with an average of 27.1 points a game.

That continued a trend of offensive excellence by Dallas during Garrett’s tenure. The top-rated offense in the recently-concluded season marked the eighth time the Cowboys finished in the top 10 with Garrett as either coordinator or head coach. They were second in 2007 and 2009, 10th in 2010 and 2013, sixth in 2012, seventh in 2014 and fifth in 2016.

“I’ve known about Jason for a long time, not only through the general public as well-known as he is as head coach of the Cowboys,” Judge said. “There were guys I worked with that I came across in my career at both Alabama and at the New England Patriots that worked with Jason through their time in Miami with him. They consistently all reflected on how smart he is, how great a teacher he is and how his perspective of the game was through a different lens than most coaches. And when he sees it, he’s able to communicate it and paint that mental image to the players. And he does a fantastic job of making in-game adjustments.”

Garrett visited the Quest Diagnostics Training Center this week and spent much of the day meeting with Judge.

“We had some great conversations when we were able to bring him in here,” Judge said. “It was a great opportunity to get to know each other a little better than we had before. It was a great opportunity to sit there and talk ball and share philosophies and views on the game. It’s a great system he brings with great teaching that will allow our players to go out there and play aggressively.”

Under Garrett’s tutelage, quarterbacks Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, running backs DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott, wide receivers Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Amari Cooper, tight end Jason Witten and numerous offensive linemen became Pro Bowl players.

Garrett’s teams were 85-67 in the regular season and won NFC East titles in 2014, 2016 and 2018. He was selected the NFL Coach of the Year in 2016.

The new coordinator will take over an offense that includes two players chosen in the top six in the last two NFL drafts, running back Saquon Barkley (the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year who was taken second overall, and quarterback Daniel Jones, the No. 6 selection in 2019, who threw for 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns in 13 games (12 starts) as a rookie. The Giants finished 23rd in the NFL in total yardage (338.5 per game) and were tied for 18th in points (21.3 a game).

Garrett began his coaching career as the Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach from 2004-06. He was named the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in 2007. Three years later, he was elevated to head coach after Dallas started 1-7. His first game was a 33-20 victory against the Giants in MetLife Stadium. Garrett guided the Cowboys to a 5-3 record in the second half of that season. His 2015 team was the only one that finished with a losing record.

As a quarterback, Garrett played in 41 games with nine starts in a career that spanned from 1993-2004. He made all of his starts with the Cowboys from 1993-99. His career totals included 165 completions in 295 attempts for 2,042 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Garrett played on two Super Bowl-winning teams in Dallas.

In 2000, Garrett joined the Giants and spent four seasons as a backup, primarily to Kerry Collins. He spent the 2004 season with Tampa Bay and Miami without appearing in a game. Garrett began coaching with the Dolphins the following year.

As a senior at Princeton University in 1988, Garrett was named the Ivy League’s Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American. He earned his degree in history in 1989 and moved on to the NFL as an un drafted rookie free agent with the New Orleans Saints’ developmental squad. After being released prior to the 1990 season, he spent the fall of 1990 as an assistant coach at Princeton. In 1991, Garrett played in the World League and the Canadian Football League before joining the Cowboys’ practice squad in 1992.

Garrett’s father, Jim, spent more than 30 years in the NFL as a coach and scout. His brother, John, is the head coach at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.

Graham, who turns 41 on Jan. 24, joins the Giants with 11 years of NFL coaching experience with four teams. He has coached in the playoffs in eight of those seasons and has been part of teams that have won seven division titles, two conference championships and one Super Bowl (XLIX).

A former Giants assistant coach, Graham was the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2019. He led a unit that had a constantly-changing cast of available players because of roster transactions and injuries. The change was particularly pronounced in the secondary, where only one of the training camp starters – safety Eric Rowe – played in all 16 games. The unit’s best player, former first-round draft choice Minkah Fitzpatrick, was traded to Pittsburgh on Sept. 17. Cornerback Xavien Howard played in five games before going on injured reserve with a knee injury. Safeties Reshad Jones, a two-time Pro Bowler, and Bobby McCain appeared in four and nine games, respectively, before they were placed on I.R. on the same day.

Two linemen released by the Giants on Aug. 31 – Avery Moss and John Jenkins – started a total of eight games.

Despite the changes, the defense helped Miami win five of its last nine games after an 0-7 start (one of the losses was to the Giants). In the season finale on Dec. 29, the Dolphins earned a 27-24 victory at New England that cost the Patriots – who won the first meeting 43-0 – a first-round bye. Graham’s defense limited the Pats to 352 yards, 18 first downs and three third-down conversions.

Numerous young defenders in Miami improved significantly under Graham’s tutelage. They included linebackers Jerome Baker, who led the team with 124 tackles (74 solo), Raekwon McMillan and Vince Biegel (who was acquired in a trade for Kiko Alonso), and tackle Christian Wilkins, Miami’s first-round draft choice last year.

“We’ve had a lot of discussions, both before he came here as well as since he’s been here, in terms of what he would want to do with the scheme,” Judge said. “We share the same vision to be able to run multiples and use the players on our roster to the best of their ability to match up against the opponent.”

Prior to joining the Dolphins, Graham spent the 2018 season as the Green Bay Packers’ inside linebackers coach and defensive run game coordinator. He helped linebacker Blake Martinez have the best year of his career to date, totaling 144 tackles (91 solo) and a career-high 5.0 sacks.

Graham spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons as the Giants’ defensive line coach. In 2017, he helped Jason Pierre-Paul lead the team with 8.5 sacks and Damon Harrison post 76 tackles (51 solo), which was second on the team and led all NFL defensive tackles.

The previous year, Graham helped the Giants’ defense become the most improved in the NFL. The team allowed 158 fewer points and 1,290 fewer yards than it did in 2015. Their 17.8 points per game allowed was second in the NFL and the team’s best since 2002.

Graham began his NFL coaching career in New England, where he spent seven seasons (2009-15). He began as a coaching assistant in 2009 before being promoted to defensive assistant in 2010 and linebackers coach in 2011. He moved to defensive line from 2012-13 before going back to linebackers in 2014-15.

During his tenure with New England, the Patriots won the division all seven seasons, the AFC twice and Super Bowl XLIX. In his five seasons as a position coach (2011-15), New England led the NFL in takeaways (150) and was tied for fourth in sacks (214).

Graham came to New England following two seasons (2007-08) as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame, where he worked with the defense. He spent three seasons (2004-06) as an assistant coach at Richmond, mentoring tight ends from 2005-06 and the defensive line in 2004.

Graham began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Wagner (2002-03), while he pursued an MBA with a concentration in finance. He coached the junior-varsity team to an undefeated season and also served as strength and conditioning coach and academic coordinator.

Graham played collegiately at Yale, where he was a defensive lineman for the 1999 team that shared an Ivy League title with Brown. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in economics and African-American studies.

McGaughey recently completed his second season as the Giants’ special teams coordinator. He was previously a coordinator for three other teams and was the Giants’ assistant special teams coach from 2007-10.

“I’ve known T-Mac from going against him as well as being in the business and I have a good relationship with him professionally and personally,” Judge said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person. He gets the most out of his players. I’ve competed against him and I knew it was always going to be tough sledding in the game there. From the perspective of having to go against him, you understand you don’t want to get him out of the building; you want to hold onto guys like that. They’re definitely key assets. He and (assistant former coordinator) Tom Quinn do an outstanding job of working together, coaching the players in techniques and coming up with schemes for game plans that allow them to apply pressure on the opponents.”

The special teams have consistently been among the NFL’s best under McGaughey.

In 2019, the Giants’ kickoff coverage team led the league by allowing an average return of 18.1 yards. The punt coverage team was tied for fifth as opponents averaged just 5.7 yards a return. Conversely, the Giants were fourth and 10th, respectively, in the NFL in punt (9.8 yards) and kickoff (23.5 yards) return average. Punter Riley Dixon was ninth in the league with a franchise-record 42.3-yard net average. He set the previous mark of 41.8 yards, set in 2018.

The special teams performed impressively in McGaughey’s first season as coordinator in 2018. Aldrick Rosas had one of the finest seasons by a kicker in Giants history as he was selected to his first Pro Bowl and named second-team All-Pro after making 32 of 33 field goal attempts and 31 of 32 extra point tries. The 32 field goals were the fifth-highest total in Giants history.

Rosas’ .970 field goal percentage was a Giants record and was just 1/100th of a percentage point behind NFL leader Robbie Gould. Rosas’ 127 points tied Ali Haji-Sheikh (1983) for the fifth-highest total in Giants history. He hit his final 19 field goal attempts, including a team-record 57-yarder against Chicago in MetLife Stadium.

Michael Thomas led the Giants with nine special teams tackles (six solo) and was the NFC special teams player in the Pro Bowl.

The Giants finished second in the NFL in kickoff coverage, limiting opponents to an average return of 20.4 yards, and seventh in punt coverage with a 6.6-yard average. The team’s kickoff return rose from 19.6 to 24.4 yards, and their average punt return improved from 5.5 to 6.2 yards.

McGaughey was the special teams coordinator at LSU from 2011-13 and for the Jets (2014), San Francisco 49ers (2015) and Carolina Panthers (2016-17) before returning to the Giants.

Courtesy: Michael Eisen

Coaches from Chargers, Cowboys selected to lead Pro Bowl teams

The coaching staffs of the LOS ANGELES CHARGERS and DALLAS COWBOYS were selected to lead the 2019 Pro Bowl teams in Orlando, Florida, the NFL announced today.

The 2019 Pro Bowl presented by Verizon will be played on Sunday, January 27, at Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Tickets to the game, which kicks off at 3:00 PM ET and will be televised live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and Disney XD and simulcast on ABC, are on sale now at NFL.com/ProBowlOnSale.

ANTHONY LYNN and the coaches from the Los Angeles Chargers and JASON GARRETTand the coaches from the Dallas Cowboys will lead the AFC and NFC teams, respectively.

Each conference will also be led by two Legends Captains – one offensive and one defensive. Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback JIM KELLY (offense) and linebacker DEMARCUS WARE (defense) will lead the AFC, while Pro Football Hall of Fame running back EMMITT SMITH (offense) and Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker BRIAN URLACHER (defense) will lead the NFC.​

Lucky Whitehead on Cowboys: ‘No one had my back in the whole situation’

UPDATE: According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Whitehead has been claimed by the Jets.

In a case of mistaken identity, all charges against former Cowboys WR Lucky Whitehead have been dismissed.

Whitehead was charged with shoplifting in Virginia back in June. A warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to appear in court on July 6.

Whitehead was unaware of what was going on, and rightfully so. Here is what he said after practice on Monday:

According to The Prince William County Police Department, here is why Whitehead was misidentified:

The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr. Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database. The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided. At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identity was falsely provided to police during the investigation. The police department is currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident

 

Whitehead is not sure how someone was able to get his personal information.

According to Whitehead, the Cowboys were not buying his story. “Let’s not sugarcoat anything. I was pretty much being called a liar,” Whitehead told the Dallas Morning News.

Whitehead went on to tell the Dallas Morning News the following:

“As far as the whole situation went down, I was blindsided,” he said. “I didn’t know about a warrant that came about in the first place. Clearly because I wasn’t the person arrested. The head person [in the Cowboys organization] I told, no one backed me up. No one had my back in the whole situation. I knew about it at what? 12:45. By 2:30 I’m released.”

According to Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, the team has moved on from Whitehead: “We’re going to stand by that decision and move forward,” 

Whitehead will now look to catch on with another team. According to his agent, Whitehead has some teams who are interested.

The Cowboys are obviously making an example out of Whitehead. If this were Dez Bryant or Ezekiel Elliott, do you think they would be cut? 

Probably not, but that’s the way it works in the NFL.