Did Cowboys Cut Dontari Poe For Being Fat?

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is offering what seems an unusually honest explanation for the team’s decision to cut starting defensive tackle Dontari Poe.

Jerry claims it's because Poe is fat.

“When you’re 30 pounds overweight and you’re not doing anything about what’s keeping you from performing well on the field, there is no reason to get into the other stuff,” Jones told Chris Mortensen of ESPN).

That's pretty edgy for Jerry ... except it's not exactly true.

Poe entered the league following the 2012 NFL Combine at which he was measured at 6-3, 346.

"Can you believe he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds?'' said an amazed Warren Sapp, the Hall-of-Fame defensive tackle, himself a wide-bodied play-maker. "Poe looks like a refrigerator. He’s not supposed to move like that.''

Poe, now 30, was signed here this offseason to serve as - guess what? a wide-bodied run-stopper. A refrigerator. That's what he's always been - and that's what Mike McCarthy and the new coaching staff wanted for the interior D-line.

The previous administration favored interior linemen with 3-Tech (upfield athleticism) skills. McCarthy and top defensive aides Mike Nolan and Jim Tomsula wanted a guy like Poe.

A source tells CowboysSI.com that Dallas signed Poe fully aware that he weighed 365 this offseason, and that's the weight he showed up at for Cowboys. 

It can therefore be argued that he was/is "19 pounds overweight'' ... but that's not the real reason he was released. 

This is about lack of production; Dallas is arguably the poorest defense in the league, and has been abysmal in stopping the run - Poe's specific assignment. Before being released on Wednesday, he was essentially making one tackle per game.

So why bring up weight? Why shroud the simple truth?

To understand that, you need more than Jones' answer.

You need Mortensen's question.

That “other stuff” that Jones mentioned? It came as the result of Mortensen asking Jerry if Poe's weekly decision to take a knee during the national anthem was involved in the decision.

Logically, it was not; Poe has knelt seven times, and Jones is already on-record as saying he's "sensitive'' to the issue of social injustice more than ever before. The old "toe-the-line'' stance is no more.

But when Jones was asked about that hot-potato issue - and you can almost see the cogs in Jerry's brain spinning feverishly on this one - he wished to make it so clear that this move wasn't protest-related ...

That he created another reason.

“I understand your question and I’m deliberately not going to answer it,” Jones said. “We have a platform here but the platform on the football field has a high standard, and he was not up to the standard. He needed to correct that and he did not. I’m going to leave it at that.”

That statement is absolutely factual. There is no evidence that Poe is grossly overweight (relatively speaking, as any 6-3 man weighing in the range of 346 to 365 is, you know, weighty). There is evidence that he played poorly.

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If Dontari Poe was still playing like a two-time Pro Bowler, he'd still be a Cowboy - regardless of whether he weighs 346 or 446 or 546. (Indeed, the Cowboys roster practicing right now in preparation for Sunday's visit to Philadelphia features maybe a dozen more "fat'' guys - but in the NFL they are simply known as "linemen.'') The truth is, he was moved out for the same reason the Cowboys released cornerback Daryl Worley and for the same reason they traded defensive end Everson Griffen to Detroit.

The Cowboys thought - fat guys, tall guys, slow guys, smart guys, dumb guys, whatever - they were signing three good players. The Cowboys were wrong. And that's an even harder thing to admit to than being fat.

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