The Dallas Cowboys released defensive tackle Dontari Poe on Wednesday, the only player on the team who knelt during the national anthem.
However, Jerry Jones would not say whether or not that factored into the decision to part ways with the 30-year-old veteran, but instead offered some other blunt criticism.
“When you’re 30 pounds overweight and you’re not doing anything about what’s keeping you from performing well on the field, there is no reason to get into the other stuff,” Jones told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen.
Jones had been adamantly against players choosing to kneel during the anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, but began to soften his stance shortly before the season started.
Still, Poe was the only player on the roster who chose to protest in that way and Jones was asked about it.
“I understand your question, and I’m deliberately not going to answer it,” he said. “We have a platform here, but the platform on the football field has a high standard, and [Poe] was not up to the standard. He needed to correct that, and he did not. I’m going to leave it at that.”
Indeed, Poe has been a disappointment for the Cowboys this season. The two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle was signed as a free agent this offseason to a two-year $8.5 million deal with $3.5 million guaranteed, but has produced zero sacks, one pass-rush hurry and just seven tackles through seven games this season.
It is not for a lack of opportunities, either. Poe led all interior defensive lineman on the team with 253 snaps played.
The departure of Poe has been part of a flurry of recent moves the Cowboys have made to an underperforming defensive unit. The Cowboys also traded pass rusher Everson Griffen to the Lions and released cornerback Daryl Worley with Poe on Wednesday.
“You make mistakes. You move on,” Jones said. “We’re moving on, but by no means are we giving up.”