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ose with whom we share the pursuit of a goal.Its the tribal way. The Iroquois Na

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    FRISCO, Texas -- Dez Bryant should be ready to return from a knee injury when Dallas comes back from the bye for a key game against Philadelphia in the suddenly difficult NFC East.When the Eagles visit on Oct. 30, the Cowboys will be that much closer to having to decide whether Tony Romo gets his job back from Dak Prescott, the rookie quarterback with a five-game winning streak.Of course, Dallas has this touchy subject because of a surge to the second-best record in the NFC entirely without Romo, sidelined by a preseason back injury, and minus 2014 All-Pro receiver Bryant for three games.And, yes, coach Jason Garrett considers it a touchy subject.Does this microphone work? a somewhat exasperated Garrett asked Monday when hed had enough of the questions about Romo, prompting laughter as reporters got the hint.The Cowboys (5-1) are winning the same way they did in 2014, when they also dropped the season opener at home and won the next six on the way to the NFC East title at 12-4. Dallas is getting efficient play at quarterback and dominating the running game, which is helping an opportunistic defense.But instead of Romo and 2014 NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray, its a pair of rookies in Prescott and league rushing leader Ezekiel Elliott. And a team with plenty of other young players has back-to-back wins over perennial playoff teams in Cincinnati and Green Bay.Im surprised that were playing as well as weve played, owner Jerry Jones said after a 30-16 win over the Packers , just the second ever for Dallas in Green Bay. We just want to keep this thing going forward, knowing in the NFL that the wheels could come off at any minute.If the wheels dont come off, Garrett will eventually have to answer questions about Romo vs. Prescott.Garrett said he didnt anticipate the 36-year-old Romo for the only practice this week on Wednesday, which means the earliest Dallas 10-year starter could practice would be four days before the Philadelphia game. In that case, the Nov. 6 visit to Cleveland is a more likely potential return date.If the Cowboys beat the Eagles and another standout rookie quarterback, Carson Wentz, the pro-Prescott chorus will grow.Since Friday, that chorus has grown to include four prominent names in Cowboys lore: Hall of Fame quarterbacks Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith and two-time Super Bowl-winning coach Jimmy Johnson.The reasoning is mostly the same from each: In the NFL, you dont mess with momentum.Id hate to end up here with two winning quarterbacks and a tough decision as to who is going to win the game, Jones said with a wink. I think what we do is enjoy how were seeing Dak progress. I have comfort in the fact that every time Romo throws a football its got more velocity on it. Thats a good spot to be in.Bryant returned to practice last week and wanted to play against the Packers, but doctors ruled otherwise.Assuming he returns against the Eagles, it will be five weeks since he sustained a hairline fracture in a bone in his right knee against Chicago. Bryant returned to the game after getting hurt and had his only touchdown of the season.Garrett happily addressed questions about Bryant. Romo, not so much.We dont deal a whole lot in hypotheticals, Garrett said. What we try to do is we try to focus on whats in front of us right now and do the best job we can as players and coaches. Tony has done a really good job with his rehab, and hes getting better and better every day.The question wont be hypothetical much longer.---Online:AP NFL website: and Schuyler Dixon on Twitter at Dane Cruikshank Stitched Jersey. Neymar curled home a free kick from just outside the area to put the 2014 World Cup host ahead in the 44th minute. Three minutes after the break, a simple through pass from Paulinho freed Oscar and the Chelsea star rounded goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong to extend Brazils lead. Rashaan Evans Stitched Jersey. The 26-year-old Ireland striker, who has four goals this season, has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with his new club. To the surprise of many, it isnt the Wolverines but their in-state rivals the Michigan State Spartans. Throwback Titans Jerseys. Anthony Calvillo, through 20 CFL seasons, was frequently invincible and largely stoic in the heat of competition. But underneath the professional exterior he was, and is, compellingly human. Black Titans Jerseys. Booth picked up 65 caps after making her national team debut in 2002 at the age of 17. She most recently played for Sky Blue FC of the National Womens Soccer League. "It just felt like it was my time to move on," she said in a phone interview from her hometown of Burlington, Ont. This story appears in ESPN The Magazines Dec. 12 NFL Chemistry Issue. Subscribe today!THERE ARE ENORMOUS men who use posture to diminish themselves. Uncomfortable with the attention that comes with their enormity, they slouch or curl or lean. They joke about their size to defuse or disarm.Richie Incognito is not like those men. He is an enormous man who uses his posture to send a message. Unburdened by doubt or self-consciousness, he launches his 319-pound body at the world, belly out, chest forward, head up. He operates it the way someone with a learners permit would drive a tank.Hes massive, says Bills coach Rex Ryan, chuckling in admiration of the Pro Bowl guard, and he knows it.Every Bills practice starts the same way. After stretching, Incognito hoists that body off the ground, shoves his helmet down over his suitcase-sized head, snaps the chin strap and proceeds to do something truly startling: sprint. For the next several moments, hes the only guy on the field moving at a rate faster than a dreary jog. One moment everybodys lying around stretching, and the next this huge person is running as fast as he can for no apparent reason. His head tilted back, his arms pumping, his Doric-column legs churning -- its like something out of a nature show. After about 30 yards of max effort -- he moves faster than you would expect, given the surrounding torpor -- Incognito looks over his left shoulder to see a football thrown by quarterback Tyrod Taylor descending into his thick, heavily wrapped hands. He catches it in full stride -- I have great hands, he says -- and decelerates like a downshifting big rig. He tosses the ball aside and jogs, now as slow as everyone else, to the corner of the field, where he and the other offensive linemen will commence another day of sled-shoving drudgery.Every day, he jumps the line and starts running, receiver Walter Powell says. We let him get his catch on. Its like, There you go, big guy. Now go on -- Powell makes a shooing motion with his hand -- and go do your own thing.Whats most striking about Incognito is the level of sheer earnestness. The engine has no governor. He attacks every drill with the choppy steps vital to his profession. Legs underneath him to maximize balance and force, his feet constantly moving, his head up, hes every offensive line coachs Platonic fantasy. Thats the message: It means so damned much to this guy. Like, all of it -- even the stupid stuff. You think coaches dont love that? You think teammates dont get an extra boost just watching it? How many thousands of times do you think hes hit a sled? How many times has he gotten down in a three-point stance and fired his body into another human being? And somehow he still goes about it like a high school kid trying to impress a girl.Heres what Richies done here, offensive line coach Aaron Kromer says. Hes come in and been the hardest worker on the practice field. He sets the tempo. Hes shown the young guys how to practice hard. Doing drills, hes finishing to the point where youre like, Whoa. You look at the other guys and say, Just do it like that. And just by virtue of other guys paying attention to what hes doing, it really helps the culture of the room.Watching that keg of a body putting every ounce of effort into something as silly as catching a pass after stretching, you remind yourself: This is a 33-year-old man. Its simultaneously comical and endearing, but whats clear is that he cares. His reputation is well established -- Incognito is abrasive and loud and profane and abusive, perceived as the epitome of the maladjusted football player. But caring this much eventually becomes its own absolution.Thats the thing about this game: Every unsavory aspect of Incognitos past -- from being suspended at Nebraska for his inability to control his temper, to being cut after head-butting two opponents in the first half of a game against the Rams in 2009, to nearly ending his career after the bullying scandal involving Jonathan Martin in Miami -- has been weighed against his ability to bring a flinty edge to a huddle. In the NFL, theres plenty of dirty work to be done, and Incognito has always been an enthusiastic and proficient worker.If he was on the other side, Id hate him, Powell says. But Id love him at the same time. Hes the type of dude who has a tough-guy side that you need in a locker room.It is one of the most uncomfortable truths in a sport that has many: Incognitos personality, and how it fits into the small-group dynamic of an NFL locker room, is prized because of its rough edges, not in spite of them. The culture creates it, fosters it, rewards and then discards it, never particularly interested in whether it can exist in a world that doesnt subscribe to the same rules.THE BILLS LOCKER room is a tangled maze of walls and random partitions. Lockers for offensive linemen are along one wall, facing the main door. Specialists are around the corner, with running backs to their right and linebackers to their left. The trend in the team-building business is circular inclusiveness, a nod to visibility, a symbolic erasure of cliques and divisions. This one, though -- a tight end could get lost on his way to visit a cornerback. It looks like it was designed by an architect who specializes in haunted houses.Between center Eric Wood and guard Ryan Groy, squarely in the middle of a wall of offensive linemen, is where Incognito makes his home. Facing the entrance, two lockers wide, he occupies a spot ideal for a ceremonial palace guard. Not much about this room makes sense; LeSean McCoy has three pillows shoved against the wall and approximately 30 pairs of shoes on the floor. But the location of Incognitos locker -- front and center, facing the door -- seems carefully considered.Theres nothing subtle about Incognito, no hidden complexity. As a 16-year-old at a Nebraska football camp, he collected money from other campers and placed a call to have two strippers come to the dorm. (They were turned away by the staff.) Three years ago, his actions in Miami caused a national debate that touched on a triple crown of social ills: bullying, racism and sexism. And yet within this average American NFL locker room, he is uniformly praised as a leader who is willing -- no, eager; no, determined -- to defend those teammates with unquestioned loyalty.Hes a guy whos accountable, guard John Miller says. You have to admire someone whos willing to take up for his teammates. Every team needs one of them.Not to say that he and his teammates agree on everything. Incognito was vocal in his support of Donald Trump during the election, but his politics -- and his outspoken adherence to them -- dont seem to have altered the chemistry of the Bills locker room. (Rex Ryan, it should be noted, introduced Trump at a rally in Buffalo in April.) He knows Im not voting for no Trump, Miller says. Asked if he and Incognito discuss politics, Taylor shakes his head and says, Strictly football. He begins to laugh. It starts as a chuckle and accelerates from there. Strictly football, he says, walking away, his laughter echoing off the locker stalls.ANY SERIOUS ETHNOGRAPHY of an NFL team would uncover an Incognito character, a forward-facing alpha, overflowing with certainty, who is loved within his tribe and loathed outside it. He is the one who administers the initiation rites, who determines the weak and the strong. He was Ryans first free agent signing when he took over the Bills before last season, and the pair seem to be a perfect match, Brady and Belichick for the beer-and-a-shot crowd. Ryan and Incognito met with Bills owners Terry and Kim Pegula, who had to approve of such a controversial hire, and Rex says Incognito sealed the deal by being incredibly genuine. Incognito rewarded Ryan, another guy working on a second chancce, with a Pro Bowl season at left guard.dddddddddddd The Bills rewarded the previously toxic Incognito with a three-year contract worth more than $15 million.Incognito declined to be interviewed for this story, but that doesnt mean he refused to talk. For the better part of a week, we have an amusing back-and-forth. Oh, hey, look whos here, he says with mock surprise every time he comes to his locker. We talk about wine and Buffalo cuisine and catching the first pass of every practice. But when I ask if hes willing to reconsider his decision and consent to an interview, he says, Nope. Its been done so many different ways so many different times. I just dont see the point of doing it again. On my last day in Buffalo, he shakes my hand and says, I hope you enjoyed Buffalo. Sorry I couldnt help. When I tell him Ill see him in Seattle when the Bills play the Seahawks the following Monday night, he says, Oh, cool. So we get to do this again? Its the most congenial refusal in the history of journalism.Part of Incognitos reticence -- and I dare you to find another instance when those two words have been joined in any plausible manner -- is what he perceives as the predictability of the flipped plotline. From the moment he signed with the Bills, he told friends this day was coming; he would reassert himself with an NFL team and the redemption stories would roll out. Richie the Leader. Richie the Misunderstood. Richie the Changed Man. Theyre all predicated on the assumption that he somehow reformed, a proclamation neither he nor anybody else seems eager to make.I dont know if hes changed, Ryan says. I can just tell you what hes been like with us. I knew this was a guy I wanted around our guys. He loves to play, and hes been nothing but a terrific teammate here. Has he been in a fight or two? Sure. Thats him.Ryan laughs, because thats what everyone does when talking about Richie. Sure, hes been in a fight or two. Sure, hes said some things that offended some folks along the way. Sure, he probably thinks the world is too damned sensitive. Its easy to see Incognito as something of a caricature, a man whose head and neck merge seamlessly, like the worlds largest Glue Stic. His demeanor conveys supreme confidence, and coaches like Ryan -- who has made a fine living out of displaying the same self-assurance while winning fewer than half his games -- tend to believe toughness is a transmittable virus.We talked about building a physical team, Ryan says, and the first guy I thought of was Richie.The Bills were 8 -- 8 in Ryans first year, 5 -- 5 through the first 10 games of this season. Theyre running a 16-year streak without a playoff appearance, and even though the AFC is rife with mediocrity, Ryan says he subscribes to the normal math that 10 wins gets a team to the playoffs. And because the Bills were built, at least in part, in Incognitos image, its fair to suggest his performance and behavior could be intrinsically tied to the Ryan brothers longevity in Buffalo.In an overall chippy Week 7 loss to the Dolphins, Incognito got into a late-game altercation with Miami defensive end Andre Branch after Branch appeared to step on Incognitos head at the bottom of a pile. Incognito ended up standing near the goal line holding Branchs helmet, which he proceeded to huck 20 yards downfield like a bocce ball. When he was fined by the league, he tweeted a clip of the helmet throw with the message, Thats the best $9,115 Ive ever spent. F*ck yo helmet!!Sure. Thats him.I guess there are times when things get under your skin, Groy says. I kind of laughed under my breath when it happened. I definitely would have handled it differently, but Im not Richie.Every time Incognito loses his cool -- which has occurred markedly less since he joined the Bills -- is a reminder that he is forever tethered to 2013, when Jonathan Martin left the Dolphins midway through the season and cited Incognitos bullying as the reason. The sordid details and complicated nature of the back-and-forth are well-known by now -- theyre the reason Incognito wont talk, of course -- but the situation ended with Incognitos being suspended for the final eight games of the season for behavior that the NFLs report described as consistent with a case of workplace bullying. He was, in his own words, radioactive -- and unsigned -- during the entire 2014 season, until the unabashedly impolitic Ryans took over in Buffalo.Speaking to Miami reporters about the Martin incident during a conference call in Week 7, Incognito said, I can sleep good at night knowing what happened and what my actions were. Im not saying I was a saint, but I sleep well at night knowing what I did.He said Martin reached out and tried to speak a few times, but I have nothing to say.Richies crossed the line at times, says Wood, who is one of Incognitos closest friends and was a teammate during Incognitos three-game stint with the Bills in 2009. And he knows hes crossed the line. Youve got to be very careful. Me and him are constantly making fun of each other, but there are times and people you cant do that kind of stuff with.Martin has mostly stayed out of the spotlight since leaving the game in 2015, but he did speak to USA Today in May, and his comments spoke as much to the locker room culture as to Incognitos behavior: I dont even know if Richie wants to be a bad person. Part of me thinks he just is because hes allowed to be in the realm he occupies.Within the tribe, youre yelled at, pushed and teased at every turn. It comes from coaches, teammates, opponents, even parents. Its an endless cycle, and it becomes like background noise. Certainly, Martins experience went beyond the norm -- the NFLs report concluded that the persistent harassment by his teammates caused him significant emotional distress -- but within this culture, he doesnt get much sympathy.From one locker to the next, Bills players made oblique references to what went on down there. As in, We know what went on down there and People dont really know what went on down there.I had heard stories and read stuff, Taylor says. But I dont actually believe things about someone until Im around them.Perhaps the most concise and unintentionally comprehensive answer comes from Powell, who says, When it comes to football, nobody judges you on your past.IN LARGE GROUPS, common goals are often vague and unsatisfying. In small groups, like a 53-man football team, theyre precise and attainable. The offensive guard has to get to the linebacker, seal the double-team, pick up the blitz. The running back has to read the blocks, carry out the fake, pick up the blitz. The communal nature of the work lends itself to a tight focus.Comparisons between football and battle are an insult to those who engage in true combat, but its understandable, and maybe even advantageous, for a football team to cast itself and its goals in military terms. Theres an undeniable psychological benefit for a group to believe that its fighting for its own preservation.Through this prism, it shouldnt be surprising that Incognito -- the Bills nominee for this years USAA Salute to Service Award, incidentally -- is valued by teammates for his loyalty and intensity. Reformed bully? Same guy? In the locker room, it doesnt really matter. Were hardwired to accept those with whom we share the pursuit of a goal.Its the tribal way. The Iroquois Nation elected civil leaders to conduct affairs during peacetime. When war broke out, however, wartime leaders took control to ensure the survival of the tribe. In the tribal world of the NFL, Incognito would be a wartime leader. Or maybe its more accurate to say this: Richie Incognito would not be trusted with peace. Wholesale Jerseys ' ' '

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