Leave it to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones to seemingly unwittingly spice up an interview session.
Asked on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan about players who are standing out in camp to him, Jones pointed out defensive end Aldon Smith, who has surprised everyone with his stellar play in his first action in five years due to an NFL suspension, as well as Pro Bowl defensive ends DeMarcus Lawrence and Everson Griffen, a recent free agent addition who actually practiced for the first time on Sunday.
Then Jones interjected defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford, who is returning from surgery on both hips, as only as he can.
“The guy that I note is 98, Crawford,” Jones said. “And Crawford is, we know what he is in his heart. You saw him down in Florida. He’s a bad boy. He’s who you want on your side now. And, boy, he looks on the edge here and looks excited about the makeup of his defensive group.”
The Florida thing that Jones brought up was a bar fight in Panama City, Florida, in March of 2019.
Crawford was charged with misdemeanor unlawful assembly, which carried a maximum sentence of 60 days in jail. But that was before he agreed to a diversion program, where the charge would be dropped if he took anger management classes and stayed out of trouble for six months, to resolve the matter.
Crawford was accused of throwing a punch at an individual and instigating a fight at Coyote Ugly in Panama City Beach on March 15.
After being removed from the bar, Crawford is alleged to have hit and threw punches at security personnel and “charged” at a police officer and “pushed between the officer and the defendant’s party” to keep officers from restraining someone in Crawford’s party, according to the police affidavit.
According to sources, Crawford got involved in the fracas to help defend his brother.
The Cowboys always believed Crawford’s side of the story and Crawford hoped the league would do the same when he addressed the issue during training camp last year.
The reason Jones can now jokingly talk about the incident seemingly so brazenly is that the NFL sided with Crawford as well.
Crawford could have been suspended under the league’s personal conduct policy. The league investigated the incident, but closed the matter without taking disciplinary action, said an NFL spokesman.
With that matter resolved, the focus can be on how Crawford is going to be a key part of the puzzle for the Cowboys up front on defense. And it’s that front that has Jones excited the most through the first few weeks of training camp, even after the loss of free agent defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to ruptured quad.
Crawford will be used as an end in the end tackle in the 4-3 and as an end in the 3-4. His versatility has been his calling card his entire career.
“I signed my contract as a guy that maybe moved around, or is gonna be moved around and has to know every position on the d-line,” said Crawford, who will make $8 million in 2020 in the final season of a five-year, $45 million contract extension he signed in 2015. “That’s still my role. Obviously they want me to know every position on the d-line and that’s what I do. I study to know every position and I work at every position. Wherever I’m needed I go.”
Nothing has changed and new defensive line coach Jim Tomsula has taken notice. “Crawford can play across the front and does a really nice job,” he said.
And he remains feisty.
Tomsula noted that he has to fight with Crawford to get him off the field due to his passion and work ethic. “I mean I’m getting in arguments with Crawford out there, I’m trying to get him off the field, get him some substitution, get him a break in some drills, and I mean we’re going to get into a fight there because he don’t want to come off the field,” he said.
Tomsula added that all of the defensive lineman are the same way in wanting to take every rep and not come out of the lineup.
But he singled out Crawford. He also knows his history from Florida.
“Hey, I didn’t say I’d win,” Tomsula reasoned. “Didn’t say I’d win, but I would give him a go.”
Crawford is Crawford. In his ninth season, coming off double hip surgery that limited him to only three games last season, but his intensity hasn’t diminished.
“I just try to get after it,” Crawford said. “I try to go as hard as I can every play and wherever I’m at, whatever I’m told to do I try to get it done. I do my best to get it done. Obviously, there’s a reason I’m still here, so high motor, I guess you guys would call it. I just love to be that type of guy. I call myself a soldier and I won’t change.”
Jones loves it that’s for sure.