Patrick Crayton's feelings for the Dallas Cowboys have gradually changed over the past month. Now he might be past the point of no return.
The veteran wide receiver claimed three weeks ago through his agent that he preferred to stay in Dallas. Then he said earlier this week he would only stay if there's a "true open competition." On Friday, Crayton told a Dallas radio station that he wants the Cowboys to immediately release him.
The sticking point seems to be the team's attempt to trade Crayton during last month's draft. Crayton's agent, Fred Lyles, said earlier this month that he learned about the trade talks from outside sources, and the receiver confirmed it Friday.
"It was behind my back," Crayton said on KESN-FM's Ben and Skin Show. "I just felt kind of, really, betrayed in a way. But that's the business."
The Cowboys don't intend to honor Crayton's request to be released, a team official told NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora. Crayton is viewed as a valuable commodity on offense and special teams.
"We are not releasing him!" the team official wrote after being contacted about Crayton's comments.
No trades that make sense for the Cowboys have materialized, and the team isn't shopping Crayton, according to league sources.
Crayton claimed he's the Cowboys' "insurance guy" in a receiving corps that become more crowded last month after the team used its first-round draft pick on Oklahoma State's Dez Bryant. Miles Austin had a breakout 2009 season, and Roy Williams' roster spot appears secure despite his struggles. Sam Hurd and Kevin Ogletree also could be in the mix for more playing time.
Crayton, 31, said he has skipped voluntary workouts because he doesn't want to risk injury during uncertain times. However, he said he will report to a mandatory minicamp June 11-13 and doesn't plan to hold out in July training camp -- if he's still a Cowboy.
"The thing is, you want to be wanted," Crayton said. "... I'm not sure if I'm wanted or not wanted."
Crayton, who signed a four-year, $14 million contract at the end of the 2007 season, is scheduled to make $2 million in 2010. He called staying in Dallas "an uncomfortable situation," although he would honor his contract if that ends up being the case.
"At the end of the day, I don't think that's going to happen," Crayton said.
Crayton, who was born in the Dallas suburb of DeSoto, has spent his entire six-year NFL career with the Cowboys. He has 196 receptions for 2,888 yards and 23 touchdowns in his career, and he returned two punts for scores last season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.