Dez Bryant didn't know rookie traditions

Updated: July 31, 2010, 1:27 AM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

SAN ANTONIO -- Dallas Cowboys rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant said he didn't know about the tradition of carrying a veteran's shoulder pads, and said Tuesday that he will take care of the matter.

Speaking to reporters while he signed autographs following Tuesday morning's practice, Bryant said the media was trying to damage his relationship with teammate Roy Williams.

From the opening practice, Williams had said Bryant has to carry his shoulder pads. But Bryant refused to do so, saying he's here to just play football.

"I didn't know nothing about no tradition," Bryant said. "The only thing about me ... when I try to do something right, y'all try and turn it negative and I don't feel like that's right. I'm trying my best to do the right thing but it seems like I can't do the right thing because every little thing that I do y'all watching it and try to make a big deal out of it."

On Monday afternoon, Bryant met with former NFL player and current television analyst Rodney Harrison, who said the rookie needs to carry the pads if asked by a veteran.

"I said this is a situation where this is a custom and a ritual that's been around before you were even born," Harrison said in recalling his conversation with Bryant. "I had to do it and everybody had to do it."

Bryant told Harrison he was disappointed in how the situation became public.

Williams and Bryant said the incident is over and there are no issues between them. One of owner Jerry Jones' grandsons carried Bryant's pads to the locker room and then helped Williams take his pads off following Tuesday morning's practice.

"I told Roy this ... he could have walked in with his tights on," Bryant said after the first of Dallas' two practices Tuesday. "I would have took his shoulder pads, his pants, his helmet, his socks, his shoes. I would have took everything. But you know what, that's not even an issue."

Harrison agreed that the situation got out of hand.

"In his defense, he said, 'You know Rod, I didn't know it would be blown up like this,'" Harrison said. "I told him, 'You're Dez Bryant and anything the media can do, they will do to make you look like a bad guy. You can't do this. You have to show humility and walk up to him and say, I'm going to carry your pads.' He said it's not going to be a problem. It's nipped in the bud. It's a done deal."

If Bryant doesn't carry Williams' shoulder pads, then he will take Williams out to dinner during a break in camp.

"We'll make sure that's no problem ... maybe McDonald's," Williams said.

The issue between Bryant and Williams apparently occurred when the veteran first approached him. Bryant didn't like Williams' tone and -- combined with the fact he didn't know about carrying pads -- that led to the confusion.

"We're fine. It's not even a situation," Bryant said. "Me and Roy is great. Not only me and Roy, but the whole team. Y'all trying to turn us against each other."

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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