Breaking The Banks

In a move more shocking than Julia Roberts marrying Lyle Lovett, Jerry Jones sent Tony Banks packing last Tuesday in Oxnard, California. "It was an organizational decision based on the best interest of us." Dave Campo deadpanned to an incredulous press.

With the ventriloquist skills of Edgar Bergen, Jones slipped his hand up Campo's skirt so the coach could mouth Cowboy-speak. A familiar form of propaganda wherein Jerry Jones morphs into a football man.

Yet for once there are dissenting voices coming from the headliners in the press. The who, what, and where depends on which radio jock critic you speak with.

To lay the groundwork we must travel back to the first quarterback school for Tony Banks. Moving his family took top priority over learning to move the offense. So instead of throwing one, Tony took a pass on the opportunity to meet and brainstorm with his newest receivers, Joey Galloway and Raghib "Rocket" Ismail.

Here is where we go to Randy Galloway of the radio station WBAP 820 AM, Dallas for some insight. Galloway claims that Jones was shell shocked at the casual work habits of his newest toy. Banks placed a burr under Jerry's saddle by not making an effort or putting the Cowboys first.

After a decade of Aikman's almost obsessive and relentless off-season program at Valley Ranch, Banks was a splash of cold water to the owner/GM's face. Fact of the matter, Aikman put in more hours as an ex-Cowboy this off-season at Valley Ranch than the starting quarterback for your Dallas Cowboys.

Training camp started at that little slice of Hades called Wichita Falls and found Banks a loner surrounded by strangers. It's claimed that he ate alone and avoided making friends.

Galloway stated on an ESPN radio interview that the coaching staff and management discussed and knew at the beginning of camp that Banks would be cut. He claims he sat on the story until days before the cut as a favor to the team.

The exact timing was meant to be a surprise from Jerry to his diligent staff, which allowed Jack Reilly and Wade Wilson to feign their shock at the appropriate time. Yet as Galloway commented, every hand from the head coach down to the quarterback coach knew this was eminent.

Mike Fisher of the Fox affiliate Extra Sports 1190 AM in Dallas spoke with Tony Banks' agent. Their version of the events give a differing account of the last days of Banks.

Monday evening of the 13th Dave Campo raced around the dorms looking for Tony Banks. He had left a meeting with Jerry Jones in which he was informed that Banks was to be demoted. The rub as Jones put it was the lack of leadership and hunger displayed by the man that would take the wheel of his multi-million dollar hotrod.

Campo begged the 6-year veteran to meet with Jerry and show him that still waters run deep. Taking heed of his head coach's urgings, Banks set a meeting with Jones to show he had the old school spirit. But Jones cancelled the meeting refusing to give his bad seed a chance to ‘gnaw the legs off of chairs' as he described the enthusiasm of both Carter and Wright in Tuesday's press conference.

What the real truth is about the events leading up to the Banks dismissal will be known to only a hand full of people with the Cowboys, and none of them are talking. But some truth can be gleaned from the fodder that has be tossed out by friend and foe alike.

Dave Campo's mantra this season was enthusiasm by everyone that plays on the team. He spoke about this since the last game of the 2000/2001 season mercifully ended. He wanted people that had a real desire to be with this team and not the Chris Warren's of the league that chose the nearest sideline over making the extra yard.

One can only presume that Jerry liked this new tag line resurrected from the (Jimmy) Johnson administration when the Cowboys were ruling the league. Rabid fervor can sometimes win the day when a less talented team faces Goliath. And one look at the bus drivers and delivery men that fill out the Dallas roster surely caused Jerry to scheme for any angle to secure a W.

Banks did miss quarterback school. And his ho-hum attitude and arrogance, as if he had toted water in this league, chaffed a might when Jerry reflected on the good ole days with Troy.

Banks was the more polished of quarterbacks in camp. But he did nothing to distinguish himself from a first year player with less than three total NFL games and a rookie hand picked by Jones.

An added rhubarb on the horizon was the 500K Jones would dish out for Banks this year. Tony came to Dallas to prove he was still a starter in the league. He signed on with the team on Jerry's word that he would be the starter. He did so with no signing bonus.

Game one on September 9th would cost Jones a half a million. He didn't get to be richer than Mark Cuban's chauffer by tossing around that kind of dough.

In the aftermath of the Blitzkrieg of Banks, Marty Shottenheimer, late of the Washington Redskins, offered Tony a shot at the back-up job to Jeff George.

Shottenheimer assured Banks that they were starting from scratch and rumors throughout the league about his attitude and work ethic were a moot point with the head coach.

"When he comes here, it's a clean slate, " Marty said. "I don't care what happened anywhere else at any time before right now."

Marty candidly informed the press that when he hired Montana for the Kansas City Chiefs he required a workout from St. Joe. Apparently no workout was needed for the stalwart Tony Banks.

But when asked by the press if he would have accepted the challenge by Shottenheimer, Banks said, "Sixty-some starts—if they had tried to make me work out, I don't know how I'd have responded to that."

That should be comforting news to the hog-nosed, blonde-wigged set that sings "Hail To The Redskins," in gingham frocks. Banks at his bluntest and most arrogant.

Jones is the man that fired Landry and figured out a way to run off Johnson. He may even be the man that shot Liberty Valance. So any wheedling from him about how this is Banks' fault draws the raised eyebrow of skepticism.

Yet Banks has hung himself from his own petard by his insistence that he is a quality starter in this league. Being demoted and passed up by the likes of Trent Dilfer makes his song slightly tinny to the trained ear.

We tend to be the heroes of our own stories. In the case of Banks and Jones one has to wonder which statue will be erected first.

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