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Cowboys’ Garrett responds to Bennett’s criticism

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IRVING, Texas — Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett criticized Cowboys coach Jason Garrett for not checking on receiver Ricardo Lockette, who seriously injured his neck in Sunday’s game.

“I know our coach would’ve did the same thing, so I thought that was a classless play by him,” Bennett said immediately after the game.

Garrett expressed concern but felt his place was on the sideline, out of the way as doctors worked on Lockette.

“Obviously we had great concern for him when he went down,” Garrett said. “He’s a football player, and anytime a player in a competitive situation like an NFL football game goes down like that, anybody that’s played or coached in this league, or been a fan in this league, you have real concern for that. We as coaches do. Our players do. It really doesn’t matter how hard you’re competing, everything kind of stops when something like that happens. I think our players were very concerned; our coaches were concerned, I certainly was concerned.

“I don’t know that it’s my role as the head coach of the opposing team to go over there and spend time with their player. We’re trying to keep our guys away as best we could, but trust me, if you’ve been around this league for any amount of time, your concern for a situation like that, regardless of how competitive the game is, is serious.”

The Seahawks announced Monday that Lockette will undergo neck surgery to repair ligament damage at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. He will miss the rest of the season.

Lockette was injured on a hit by Cowboys safety Jeff Heath, who was penalized 15 yards for a blindside block. Garrett wouldn’t get into the “interpretation” of the rule.

“He was playing hard, and he was trying obviously to hit him the right way,” Garrett said. “They (officials) just didn’t see that.”

Heath can expect a fine this week. The minimum fine for a first-offense blindside block is $23,152. Heath makes $34,411 per week.

–The Cowboys didn’t score a touchdown in the 13-12 loss to the Seahawks. And an opportunity to score a touchdown in the second quarter was taken away because of a mistake by the officials.

“That was a technicality, and that was screwed up,” owner Jerry Jones said. “…But I wouldn’t blame the game on that call or our outcome of the game on that call.”

The Seahawks illegally called a second consecutive timeout to avoid being penalized for an extra player on the field as the Cowboys were lining up for a 35-yard field goal.

Seattle was not flagged for the second timeout, which was called hoping to avoid a penalty for having 12 men on the field.

“It’s double jeopardy,” referee Carl Cheffers said in a pool report. “The timeout should not have been granted. Obviously, the snap did not happen. At the time, the timeout was erroneously granted. It was not, by rule, 12 men on the field. We just made a mistake.”

If officials had flagged Seattle for 12 men on the field, the Cowboys would have had a first down at the 12-yard line.

–Quarterback Tony Romo will take a step in the process of returning from a fractured collarbone this week by practicing on a limited basis for the first time since Sept. 20. Romo will do some light throwing in practice Wednesday and eventually work his way up to some scout-team work.

Matt Cassel will get all first-team reps in advance of Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Nov. 15 matchup at Tampa Bay before Romo returns against the Miami Dolphins Nov. 22.

NOTES: WR Dez Bryant had just two catches for 14 yards in his first game since suffering a fractured bone in the season opener. But he played more than expected and should get better with more time on the field and more time with quarterback Matt Cassel….FS Byron Jones is the new starter at free safety in place of J.J. Wilcox. Jones, a 2015 first-round pick who came to the Cowboys billed as a potential impact player at cornerback and safety, started in place of Wilcox against the Seahawks Sunday.


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