Sources: More going on with Joseph Randle than losing starting job

ByTodd Archer ESPN logo
Thursday, October 29, 2015

IRVING, Texas -- On the day he lost his job as the Dallas Cowboys' starting running back, Joseph Randleunexpectedly left the team's Valley Ranch facility, but sources say there is more going on than just a change in role.

Randle is expected to meet with the coaches Thursday, according to sources.

He did not practice Wednesday because of a strained oblique suffered after two carries in Sunday's loss to the New York Giants. Initially, Randle was called probable to return to the game; however, he later was downgraded to doubtful and never returned.

He did go through rehab in full pads Wednesday.

Darren McFadden was promoted to the starting running back role after rushing for 152 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries Sunday. Randle started the first six games and has 315 yards and four touchdowns on 76 carries.

The Dallas Morning News was the first to report Randle's abrupt departure from Valley Ranch. Efforts to reach Randle's agent, Erik Burkhardt, were not successful.

Last year, cornerback Morris Claiborne skipped a walk-through after he learned he lost his starting job to Orlando Scandrick. He returned to the team's facility later that day and met with coach Jason Garrett, and he actually started the next game when the Cowboys opened in their nickel defense. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in that game against New Orleans, but the team stood by him and he is having his best season this year.

It has been a tumultuous 12 months for Randle on and off the field.

In February, Randle was arrested for unlawful possession of marijuana after the Wichita, Kansas, police received a call for domestic violence with a weapon after an incident between Randle and the mother of his son.

In April, the charges were dropped, but while legally clear, Randle faced sanctions from the NFL.

It was the second time in four months Randle had been arrested. Last October, Randle was arrested at a Frisco, Texas, mall for shoplifting. He was attempting to steal underwear and a tester bottle of cologne. The Cowboys fined Randle an undisclosed amount, and he apologized. In July, he was given six months of probation for the incident.

On the field, Randle was criticized over the offseason for saying DeMarco Murray left "meat on the bone" in rushing for a team-record 1,845 yards last year. Earlier this season, he drew the ire of the coaches for extending the ball over the goal line while leaping in back-to-back games.

After he did it in the 26-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 4, running backs coach Gary Brown had to be restrained by Randle's teammates in the bench area. Offensive line coach Frank Pollack also had sharp words for Randle on the field.