SportsProf

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Thursday, August 05, 2004

An Apology to Bill Parcells

Yesterday I questioned Bill Parcells' management style because of what appeared to be a rather rash decision to cut Quincy Carter. I had figured that Parcells did so because Carter wasn't taking the competition with Vinny Testaverde seriously and hadn't started doing all of the little things necessary to become a winner in Parcells' book. In so doing, I overestimated Parcells' authoritarian nature, which, while substantial, is not absolute and unthinking.

As it turned out, Quincy Carter, according to Chris Mortenson of ESPN (and ESPN Radio), flunked his second drug test and thus is one strike away from a suspension should he fail a third. Because of his bad test record off the field, Parcells released Carter. He just couldn't see putting a player at the controls of his offense who isn't totally in control of his life. He just didn't want to take the risk of losing Carter during the season, after investing a significant amount of time and energy on him, because of a failed third drug test.

Sounds like it's good, logical thinking. Carter has unique gifts and was afforded to play a game at a level that most people only dream about. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he just couldn't handle the overall pressures, and, because of that, he's now in the predicament that he's in. It's very hard to fault Parcells for the decision he made.

But Mike Golic of ESPN Radio, on the outstanding "Mike & Mike in the Morning Show" raised the wonder, almost ethical question: "Would the Cowboys have released Quincy Carter under these circumstances if he were one of the top five quarterbacks in the game?" Golic and Mortenson quickly agreed that they would not have, and Mortenson also said that, for example, the Cowboys wouldn't have released Troy Aikman under these circumstances.

Carter, everyone agrees, isn't a top-5 QB and might not even make it into the top half, but he did lead the Cowboys to the playoffs last year. And, no doubt, a QB-challenged squad will pick him up and put him in their mix because of what he did last year.

Quincy Carter will get at least one more chance, and here's to hoping that he puts his troubles behind him and makes the most of it.

And Bill Parcells now will try to make a go of it with an too old and too slow Vinnie Testaverde or a too young and too inexperienced Drew Henson.

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