Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he stresses to the players to come to him or anyone in the organization if they have anything in their lives they want to talk about or want help with, and that the Cowboys will do anything they can to provide help.
“Literally, I said I’ll get down on my hands and knees, and I beg you to do this because it’s the most important thing there is,” Garrett said Monday, talking about the effect of the murder-suicide on Saturday involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Javon Belcher and his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins.
“There’s no issue that you have in your life that we can’t somehow solve in some way and in some way make it better,” Garrett said. “I just say that from the bottom of my heart because you never know what guys are going through, and you just let them know they have a place to turn. It’s a real tragedy there, so you just want to make sure you do everything you can to make sure something like that doesn’t happen here, and you want to make them really aware that we have the resources to help them.”
Garrett said he spoke to the team about the shootings on Saturday night at the team hotel and that everyone listened and he hoped he got the message across. He said the macho image of a football player shouldn’t prevent him from seeking help.
“You have to make clear to them there’s no judgment involved,” Garrett said. “We’re not judging you, we’re helping you. We’re here to help. We’ve got a lot of resources to help you. We’ve got professional people who are experts in this area to help you. Everybody’s got my cell phone. They’ve got all their position coaches’ cell phone numbers. Just call us. Players, watch out for each other if you see something that doesn’t look right or feel right, because you never know. Some guys might just have a feeling that I’ve got to handle it myself, I don’t want anybody else to know. Somehow, someway, you’ve got to break through that.”
Garrett said cornerback Brandon Carr, who spent his first four years in Kansas City before joining the Cowboys this year, knew the deceased player well and did a good job of getting himself ready to play as best he could.
The suicide of Belcher touched Carr most directly, but Garrett said everyone felt its effect.
“That’s part of our fraternity. That happened in the Kansas City Chiefs’ organization, but it happened in the NFL, and we had some guys on our team who knew him and knew that situation really well,” Garrett said. “It directly affects them, but it affects everybody. Again, what you want to do is take the football part out of it, put the human part in it and make sure that anybody knows we have resources to help them if they’re thinking about anything like that at all, we can help. I can’t try to convey that too much. I mean, it’s really the most important thing you’ll hear me say.”
-- Carlos Mendez