Williams: Rookie Bryant's refusal to carry pads 'not a big deal'

SAN ANTONIO -- Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Roy Williams can't even get his 4-year-old son to carry his shoulder pads.

"Man, I can't get anybody to carry them," Williams joked Monday. "I'm mad at him, too."

One day after the drama created when first-round draft pick Dez Bryant refused to carry the veteran's pads off the field after practice -- a long-standing rookie ritual -- Williams said it was "not a big deal" and that the teammates were fine with each other.

Bryant didn't comment while jogging off the field with cameramen and reporters following him.

Some believe Bryant could challenge Williams for the starting job opposite Pro Bowl receiver Miles Austin. The rookie has been impressive in all four sessions so far, and he dunked the ball over the goalpost after catching a pass in the end zone during some post-practice drills Monday.

Though he called the shoulder pads situation "a non-issue," Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said he addressed the team about it because of how quickly the story spread. Phillips said he talked to someone who said it was a top story in Toronto.

Then again, Dallas is the NFL's only full squad already in training camp. And it is the Cowboys.

Asked if the story was being overblown and silly, veteran tight end Jason Witten responded, "Absolutely."

Bryant said Sunday that he was drafted to play football and not carry another player's pads. He said he would feel the same if he was a free agent and not a first-round pick.

"Because it's Dez vs. Roy, that's why it's a big story," Williams said. "It's all in fun. I had to do it and I was the seventh pick. ... If you don't want to do it, it's not like I'm going to put a gun to your head and make you do it."

Williams said he still remembers carrying Tai Streets' pads when he was a rookie with the Detroit Lions in 2004, and paying for plenty of meals -- something he expects Bryant to eventually do, too, though they haven't spoken about it yet.

"He wants to concentrate on football, and we're going to let him concentrate on football," Williams said. "But when we go out to eat, I'm going to be a little bit more hungry and thirsty."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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