Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he asked his players what approach they wanted to take Saturday night when they got to Cincinnati – go through the routine of meetings, or perhaps not meet, or just talk, or what.
They decided to meet like normal, but for less time. They met as a team so Garrett could talk about the death of Jerry Brown and the arrest of Josh Brent, but after that, they opted to not have the regular 25-minute special teams meeting and shortened the regular 40-minute offensive and defensive meetings.
“So it was a little bit a sense of the routine, a little bit to get your mind back on the game tomorrow, but at the same time not be too involved in this hard-nosed football meeting where you weren't focused on it, anyway,” Garrett said.
After the meetings, Garrett encouraged the players talk with each other if they wanted, or just go upstairs if they wanted to be alone.
“We had a snack in the dining room, encouraged everybody to go in there and hang out with each other,” Garrett said. “Some guys chose not to. A lot of guys did and kind of hung out and were together.
“Another thing I said at the outset of the meeting was, ‘If anybody wants to leave this meeting, leave the next meeting, you don’t feel up to hearing all this stuff, leave. Do whatever you need to do. I'm not telling you how to handle anything. I’m just saying we are here for each other. If you feel like you don’t want to be a part of this, if you want to walk out of the room and take a moment for yourself, you do that.’
“There were no restrictions. There wasn't a lot of structure. We just tried to handle it the best we could all together.”
Garrett said the chapel service Saturday night was better attended than normal.
-- Carlos Mendez