Cowboys' rationale for release questioned
OXNARD, Calif. -- The NFL Players Association filed a grievance Monday against the Dallas Cowboys on behalf of Quincy Carter, claiming the quarterback was released by the team for reasons not permitted in the NFL collective bargaining agreement.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, however, remained confident about why Carter was cut two weeks ago and said he was willing to answer any questions from the union or the NFL's management council.
"Basically the decisions were made because of what we wanted to do at that position this year and in the future," Jones said after the Cowboys practiced Monday. "They were well, in my view, within the area that I'm comfortable with regarding being able to defend it."
Jones didn't elaborate on the reasons.
The team has not given specific reasons for Carter's release, although there were widespread reports that he had failed a drug test. Parcells and Jones have been vague publicly.
"You don't go from being a starting, playoff quarterback in this league to someone not good enough to make the 80-man roster the next summer," Richard Berthelsen, the union's general counsel, said in a statement.
But the union didn't indicate what it believes were the reasons for Carter's unexpected release Aug. 4.
Carter started all 16 regular-season games plus the Cowboys' playoff game last season. His departure left 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde as the only experienced quarterback, with Drew Henson -- a player Jones traded for during the offseason -- one of the backups.
The NFLPA filed for a special master proceeding that would be heard by professor Stephen Burbank of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. The union said the first step would probably be the taking of depositions from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and coach Bill Parcells.
Jones said neither he or Parcells had been contacted about possible depositions, and that other things would have to be resolved before getting to that point.
Carter's agent, Eugene Parker, said his client was approached by the union about filing the grievance. Carter supports the action, but his focus remains on playing.
"It's in the Players Association's hands. They're handling it," Parker said. "It's not on Quincy's mind. His mind is on getting ready mentally and physically to play. He's doing what he can to continue to prepare. ... He's trying to move on. What else can he do?"
The CBA does not permit teams to administer drug tests, although if Carter already was in the league's drug program by virtue of a previous positive test, he could be tested by the league.
Parker declined to go into specifics about the case, but like the union would like to know how Carter went from Parcells saying he had a "leg up" on the competition to being off the team a few days later.
Union spokesman Carl Francis said he expects the case to take at least a few weeks.
While he didn't talk about the grievance Monday, Parcells said the Cowboys have adjusted and moved on without Carter.
"I don't there was much of a psychological adjustment," said Parcells, whose team opened the preseason with an 18-0 loss Saturday night at Houston. "When you start training camp, when we started, players were coming and going. I don't think there's much to that."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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