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James tore the sign off the man, breaking his sunglasses. James then went to his locker, got a pair of expensive shades he'd been given and returned with an apology, a handshake and a gift. Police came and left without taking any action.
"He was like, `Why you guys didn't have that fire last night!' You should've showed that much heart last night!' So the next thing you know I'm just ripping that sign off of him," James said. "So I went and gift-wrapped some Oakleys, and he got something out of the deal. I told him, `I share your frustrations. But where we differ is I wouldn't go to anybody's job, especially not up here with 300-pound guys, trying to tell them what they didn't do right.'"
James turned out to be the most high-profile player to step up in front of cameras Monday. The only others were linebacker Zach Thomas, receiver Roy Williams and rookie running back Tashard Choice, all whom were in their first season in Dallas and thus have less perspective about what went wrong.
James' take: "There were a lot of personalities put on this team and we didn't jell. We didn't find a way to jell. This past game, you could see it. When you know you've got something on the line and you're playing to go into the playoffs, you know what you have to do, and you go out there and stink it up like that? That just speaks for itself."
Thomas finished his 13th NFL season and said he'll be healthy enough to return for No. 14, although not necessarily in Dallas.
"I'm going to weigh my options," he said. "I'm healthy and I feel like I still got a lot of fuel left in this tank."
He heads into the offseason shaking his head that this collection of talent won only nine games, while the 1-15 Miami team he left went 11-5. Cowboys fans look at the Dolphins' turnaround and grumble about it being orchestrated by former Dallas folks, from Parcells to coach Tony Sparano, who was among the people passed over when Jones hired Phillips and made Jason Garrett the offensive coordinator in 2007.
"We didn't really get to our full potential," Thomas said. "We were inconsistent all year. I don't understand it, but that's something for them to fix. I mean, they've got a great organization here, a lot of great players. Something's missing. I'm hoping they find out because Jerry Jones deserves it, Wade deserves it."
Williams caught only 19 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown over 10 games after being acquired from Detroit for three draft picks, including Dallas' first-rounder (20th overall). He and Romo never got in sync, including an interception on a ball thrown his way Sunday.
"I would love to take the blame for that one, but I can't," Williams said. "Once we get a training camp under our system, we'll be good."
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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