Thursday, August 5, 2004

Cowboys release QB Carter

Team doesn't give reason for move; Testaverde slated new starting QB

By Stephen Hawkins
The Associated Press

OXNARD, Calif. - In a stunning move the team wouldn't explain, the Dallas Cowboys cut Quincy Carter on Wednesday and handed the starting quarterback's job to 40-year-old Vinny Testaverde.

Just four days after he started camp as the No. 1 quarterback, Carter was suddenly gone from a team he led to 10 wins and back to the playoffs in Bill Parcells' first season.

Owner Jerry Jones and Parcells were vague about why they released Carter, who started every game in 2003 and was the opening-game starter each of his three years.

"We've made a decision to move in a different direction," Jones said. "We're not going to get in a lot of detail on the process."

Jones wouldn't specifically answer questions about reports that Carter failed a drug test, or say if the move was based on non-football issues.

"I think that we should leave it at it just was not a difficult decision, and not get into a definition of what it was about," Jones said., and, all citing unidentified NFL sources, reported that Carter had failed a drug test. The NFL had no comment.

Carter's agent, Eugene Parker, did not return calls seeking comment. The quarterback left camp soon after being informed of the decision by Parcells and Jones and wasn't available.

Parcells said just this week that Carter had "a leg up" at quarterback. After the first camp workout Saturday, Carter said he was confident of remaining the starter and didn't consider himself in an open competition for the job.

The coach wouldn't say why there was such a drastic change in direction.

"I just couldn't keep him in the plans," Parcells said. "I'm saddened by this, because I've got 18 months invested in it ... two offseason programs and a regular season and a playoff game."

Asked why the decision wasn't made earlier, Parcells said, "We only make decisions based on the information we have."

The Cowboys went 10-6 last season as Carter threw for 3,302 yards. He had 21 interceptions and 17 touchdowns.

Testaverde reunited with Parcells this summer hoping for a chance to start again. And the Cowboys traded for Drew Henson, who spent the past three years playing baseball in the New York Yankees' minor-league system.

Parcells said Testaverde would start when the Cowboys play their season opener Sept. 12 at Minnesota. The coach plans to spend as much time in camp as possible getting Henson and second-year quarterback Tony Romo ready to play.

Parcells said there were no plans to bring more quarterbacks to camp.

The Cowboys drafted Carter in the second round out of Georgia in 2001. Midway through that camp, expected starter Tony Banks was released and Carter was proclaimed the starter to replace Troy Aikman.

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