Woody Dantzler has played in just six games during his short NFL career. And even though he's been with the Cowboys for only a little more than a calendar year now, Dantzler has worn five different jersey numbers, even moving from wearing the white jersey signifying he's on offense and the blue jersey of the defense.
Dantzler is now wearing the blue No. 29 and working as a safety.
Dantzler, a college quarterback at Clemson, worked on converting to running back last season, and wore No. 10 during training camp. He switched to No. 35 when he was signed to the practice squad, and then moved to 29 in midseason. This offseason, the Cowboys worked him some at quarterback, so he switched to No. 1, his old college number. But one day into a rookie mini-camp two weeks ago, he was moved to safety. That slapped No. 36 on his back. The next day, it was back to quarterback and No. 1, before going to safety and No. 36 again. And now, Dantzler has decided to go with 29.
Sources out of Dallas say that Dantzler continues to be a favorite of Cowboys' head Bill Parcells, all he needs to do is find a position outside of a kick returner where he can make more of a substantial contribution to the team.
The Chiefs insist that new addition Dexter McCleon, who was a starting cornerback for Dick Vermeil when the St. Louis Rams won the Super Bowl after the 1999 season, will begin the season as Kansas City's No. 3 cornerback. But few will be surprised if he isn't pushing struggling young corner William Bartee for a starting spot soon.
"William is one starter, Eric Warfield is one and No. 3 is Dexter," Vermeil insisted. "He knew that when he came here. I didn't bring him here under false pretenses. He also knows if he ends up being the best, he'll start."
But Vermeil continues to believe Bartee can develop into the kind of corner the Chiefs hoped he would be when they made him their second-round draft pick in 2000. "He has too much physical talent not to continue to improve," Vermeil said. He's a gifted athlete. Guys who will work hard -- as long as they don't lose their confidence to the point that you can't build it back up -- they'll be fine. I think he's got enough respect for his ability. He'll be fine."
Dexter McCleon was a standout defensive back and quarterback for Clemson from 1992-96. He was a four-year letterman in football and two-year letterman in baseball who started every game during junior and senior seasons.
Linebacker Anthony Simmons tends to be a quiet type, but having signing a big contract and agreeing to return to the Seahawks, Simmons is now asserting himself.
"He's not a very vocal guy, as a rule, but it became pretty apparent early that he is going to get those guys going," coach Mike Holmgren said. "Hopefully, he understands how we feel about him with the contract he has. We need him and it's very important he leads and gets those guys to follow." Rhodes has involved Simmons more by making him call the defensive alignments.
"It's important that he takes over some of the leadership role," Rhodes said. "Be a leader, and that's on and off the field. Set an example in the way that you work and how you play in the game."
Simmons earned all-America honors all three seasons at Clemson while playing 33 games with 23 starts at weak inside linebacker. He led the team in tackles three times, including a team record 178 as a sophomore in 1996. Overall, Anthony Simmons ranks third in school history with 486 career tackles.
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