Charles Haley has never been afraid to express himself.
And the Hall of Fame defensive end had some strong words for one of his former teams, referring to the Cowboys as “losers” and generally challenging them to live up to the franchise’s self-created hype.
During an appearance on 103.3 ESPN in Dallas, Haley was asked about the Cowboys’ regression to 9-7 and out of the playoffs last year. After mentioning the absence of Ezekiel Elliott for a chunk of the season, he got to what was clearly bugging him.
“I don’t think they understand what it takes to win a game,” Haley said, via the Dallas Morning News. “If you want to look back, if that was Coach [Jimmy] Johnson, we would’ve worked harder than we did last year just to repeat that part of it. I don’t see that maturity where guys are doing their own thing out there. When the coach says run 10, you run 15, or you grab your teammates and go run. They took 13-3 for granted and they thought, ‘OK, we’ll win the Super Bowl the next year.’
“I blame everybody. It’s one team and everybody’s together. And that’s the key. I go over there and I tell guys, ‘Man, Jerry built this house for a bunch of damn losers.’ And they get mad. They have to do something about it. I can’t do anything about it, I can’t play. All I can do is give you some knowledge.
“And then the egos are so big and they’re so busy getting on Twitter and Facebook and everything else – maybe they should get in that playbook. Maybe they should learn how to rush, catch and block.
“I tell those guys nobody’s scared of them. Ain’t nobody in the league scared of y’all. What y’all been doing is listening to people saying you’ve got the best offensive line in the business. I said who’s scared of y’all? Huh? Those little things like that, those intangibles, the attitude you take to the field [matters]. . . . I go over there and I watch guys work. I watch them go through drills. They go through three or four drills and they’re gassed.”
While there’s a bit of old guy “back in my day” ethos at work here, Haley has the ultimate credibility (Super Bowl rings and a gold jacket). The current crop of Cowboys can’t say the same. And even if they get mad at him, they also can’t say he’s necessarily wrong.