Cowboys Randle; Another 'Biggest Mistake'
The Dallas Cowboys Cowboys habitually argue that Joseph Randle is more 'knucklehead' than "troublemaker.' But that can be a fine line - and he's allegedly crossed it again.
And yet, a source tells CowboysHQ.com, the team is actually "breathing a sigh of relief'' here because one important aspect of the initial report is proving to be untrue.
Randle, the young running back who stands as a potential successor to NFL rushing champ and free agent DeMarco Murray, was arrested in his native Wichita, Kansas, on Tuesday after police responded to a call to a hotel at about 3 a.m. From there, facts become sketchy, in part due to semantics.
According to KAKE-TV in Wichita, police said Randle's apparent girlfriend reported she and Randle were arguing. When police arrived,, they found marijuana in the room and arrested Randle on a drug charge. Reports also included mentions of "handcuffs,'' a "firearm'' and, most disturbing to some at Valley Ranch, "a domestic violence call.''
But sources tell me the Cowboys have been assured that "domestic violence'' was not part of the incident. And, Randle agent Erik Burkhardt said on Twitter, "There was zero 'violence' of any kind, domestic or otherwise. He was asking three people to exit his room, who didn't want to leave.''
Additionally, the "firearm'' was apparently part of the initial phone call, but no gun was found in Randle's possession at the hotel. And I'm not sure where the "handcuffs'' come in.
But some things are clear: It is Burkhardt's assertion that "Randle was NOT arrested. He was cited with a ticket, and the police officer then left his hotel room.'' That's a semantic game being played; Here is the Wichita Police Department's record of the incident and it's listed as an "arrest,'' not a "ticket.''
Meanwhile, regardless of some of the specifics, or of one's view on being in possession of a gram of marijuana, it's difficult to dismiss this as a non-issue. The Cowboys have some level of reliance on Randle, who they believe is talented enough to be the lead man in a running-back-by-committee set-up for 2015, and who would be doing so at a budget price of $585,000 in this third year of his four-year rookie deal. Last year he averaged 6.7 yards a carry, finishing with 343 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 51 carries.
Does he remain a Cowboys candidate for 2015? Sure, along with the outside shot at DeMarco, the dream of Adrian Peterson, the collection of Mark Ingram types, the collection of Ryan Williams types and the option of using a second- or third-round pick on a DeMarco heir. But once upon a time, Randle was an insurance policy. If you view him as talented but unreliable? Now you have to buy insurance to insure the insurance.
Why he's in a hotel room at 3 a.m. in his hometown with the mother of his baby, and the baby, and "three people who didn't want to leave'' aren't necessarily legal questions. But they are judgment questions, and Dallas has been down this road with Randle before, as he was arrested in October, 2014 for shoplifting underwear and cologne from a Frisco mall. You will also recall that police video of his jailhouse appearance saw him treating a female officer disparagingly and speaking ill of teammates Dez Bryant and Josh Brent, a level of foolishness that got him in trouble with a Jason Witten-led locker room.
"I'm just trying to take full responsibility and really just move on from it," Randle said in October of the shoplifting incident. "It's the biggest mistake I've ever made in my life. ... I've never been in any kind of trouble in my whole life."
But now he's apparently made another "biggest mistake.'' And he's in trouble again, though the Cowboys "sigh of relief'' comes, sources tell me, from their believe that domestic violence isn't involved here. That would be unacceptable at any time to me, but it's viewed as especially abhorrent in the NFL now. Teams can tolerate a little pot, a 3 a.m. gathering, and a call to the police.
That, it seems, can all be chalked up to "knuckleheadedness.'' Or so the Cowboys hope.
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