by Robert A. Waters
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver
A few NFL players are so out-of-control they need a special set of guidelines just to survive. The so-called "Dez Bryant Rules," instituted by the Cowboys, would be funny if they weren't so serious. There's a midnight curfew--you know, the kind parents place on teenagers--and a rule that forbids Bryant to drink alcohol. There's bi-weekly counseling and a personal security detail. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, Dez can't visit strip clubs, those seedy joints where slutty crack-heads dance on poles. After Dez beat up his mother, Jerry Jones figured he'd better come up with something or his star receiver would be toast. While NFL teams aren't known for drafting choirboys, Bryant's off-the-gridiron college record should have raised red flags. He's been in trouble almost since the day he was born. If Dez is convicted of pummeling his mom, he could face a year in the clink. Meanwhile, Dallas continues to be the laughingstock of the NFL, both on and off the field.
Jovan Belcher, Kansas City Chiefs linebacker (posthumously)
It wasn't enough to shoot his girlfriend once. Or twice. No, Belcher was really mad, so he pumped fifteen rounds into her body. He and Kassandra Perkins had been out partying most of the night while Belcher's mother baby-sat their three-month-old daughter. At some point, the couple argued, then separated. The football star took up with a tall blonde, and Perkins attended a Trey Songz concert. Belcher got home first. When his girlfriend finally appeared, he smoked her. Then he drove to Chiefs Stadium and spoke with coach Romeo Crennel and general manager Scott Pioli. As he heard police sirens approaching, Belcher blasted himself to Hell. News reports claimed the troubled linebacker had questioned whether he was the father of his and Perkins' daughter, although his mother denied it. It is known that the couple had been in counseling.
Josh Brent, Dallas Cowboys nose tackle
At least Dez hasn't killed anyone. Yet. But Josh Brent has. Driving like a maniac down a residential street, he clipped a curb and flipped his car. He was so drunk he walked away unscathed. But his passenger and teammate, Jerry Brown, wasn't so lucky. Brown, on the Cowboys' practice squad, died of massive injuries. After testing Brent's blood for the presence of alcohol, police arrested him. A few days later, in a surreal moment, television cameras showed the happy, smiling suspect on the sidelines. Like Dez, Brent doesn't learn from his past actions. In 2009, he was convicted of DUI and sentenced to 60 days in jail. In fact, he'd just completed his probation for that crime. If convicted of manslaughter, Brent's football career will be gone with the wind.