Bryant refusal creates stir among Ravens

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Rookie wide receiver Dez Bryant's decision to refuse to carry fellow wideout Roy Williams' shoulder pads after a recent practice at Dallas Cowboys training camp made headlines throughout the NFL.

It also brought out some amused looks and smiles among Ravens players when they were asked for their thoughts on Bryant's move.


Cornerback Lardarius Webb, who started four games last season – his rookie campaign – before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, said carrying a teammate's shoulder pads and helmet is not a dealbreaker.

"If somebody asked me to take a helmet. I'll take a helmet," Webb said. "Not a big deal. I don't feel disrespected. It's just some things they do. I don't care. That's just him. No disrespect to the guy. He's a great guy, a great player. He just doesn't want to hold anybody's helmet. That's just him."


Linebacker Jarret Johnson openly questioned Bryant's refusal, arguing that he might have to make amends with his older teammates.

"You don't ask the rookies to do stuff to demean them," Johnson said. "But you kind of want to see what kind of person they are. Are they going to be cool? Are they going to respect the older guys? But if you want to act like that, it's going to take him a while to fit in. Why be like that? Everybody does it. It was worse back in the day. So just do it, get it over with, and know your role."

Coach John Harbaugh agreed with Johnson, adding that he is opposed to the idea of hazing rookies for the sake of punishment or humiliation.

"We're not a hazing team," Harbaugh said. "It's not something that we believe in. We think all of our players are Ravens. That's why we brought them in here, and they're Ravens until they're not. We try to be very respectful of all the guys, and that includes rookies. But I also think there's a certain protocol for the young guys to have an opportunity to show some humility and some respect for the veterans and what they've done in this league. And if that means stepping back in line at dinner, stepping back in the taping line, taking care of pads coming off the field, that stuff is being deferential to a veteran. We encourage that, and our guys have always been good about that."

One rookie, defensive tackle Arthur Jones, said he would not do what Bryant did.

"We've got a great group of guys here and if they asked me to do anything like that, it's small," said Jones, a fifth-round pick. "What's carrying a helmet or shoulder pads? To each their own."