Lucky Whitehead didn’t do it.
One day after the wide receiver was informed he had been cut by the Cowboys for facing misdemeanor petty larceny charges in Virginia, Whitehead’s agent, Dave Rich, announced that police had the wrong guy all along.
Rich told NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport that all charges against Whitehead have been dropped and his arrest warrant rescinded. Prince William County Police later confirmed Rich’s account.
Despite the mixup, the Cowboys are still cutting the 25-year-old Whitehead. Cowboys executive vice president and CEO Stephen Jones told reporters Monday that the team’s decision stemmed from “a culmination of things over a period of time.”
Jones didn’t change his stance when asked about the decision in light of the development.
“We have made a decision and moved on,” Jones said six different times when asked by a handful of reporters after the team’s Tuesday morning walkthrough, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche reported.
Coach Jason Garrett also held firm on the decision.
“Yesterday we made a decision that we thought was in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys, and we stand by that decision,” he said.
Whitehead wasn’t pleased with how everything played out.
“No one had my back,” Whitehead told Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News on Tuesday. “I didn’t even get to clear my name … I was pretty much being called a liar.”
Whitehead said he was released from the Cowboys less than two hours after he first heard of the reported incident. He expressed disappointment the team didn’t support him.
“I don’t want to say my teammates. They believed me,” Whitehead said. “As far as how it was handled? Come on.”
Prince William County Police announced Monday that a man identified as Whitehead was arrested on June 22 around 1:30 a.m. ET after being accused of shoplifting less than $200 worth of merchandise from a convenience store in Woodbridge, Virginia.
On Tuesday, authorities issued a statement to NFL.com, saying: “Upon reviewing the June 22, 2017 arrest of an individual named ‘Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.,’ the police department is confident that the man charged with petit larceny, and who is subsequently being sought on an active warrant for failure to appear in court, is not Lucky Whitehead of the Dallas Cowboys. The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.”
Police confirmed they are “currently seeking the identity of the man involved in the incident” and “working with the Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office to clear Mr. Whitehead from this investigation.”
It leaves the Cowboys in a super-awkward position after Whitehead told Garrett on Monday that he wasn’t involved in the alleged incident.
Garrett said Monday he learned about Whitehead’s situation on the practice field and met with him briefly: “As we gathered more information on that particular situation and conversations we had with Lucky about that particular situation and we put into context with his career with us over the last year or so, we just felt like the best decision for the Dallas Cowboys was to release them.”
Garrett also had this to say Monday on Whitehead’s maturity: “When you have someone in your program, in this environment, in this structure, and they don’t grow and develop and they make the same mistakes over and over again, it’s time to move on.”
Jones echoed Garrett’s stance on the situation.
“I just think we’ve given Lucky a lot of different chances along the way going back to last year,” Jones said Monday, per the team’s official website. “I think we just decided it was time to go in a different direction.”
Clearly the Cowboys had issues with Whitehead beyond this isolated incident. Still, it goes down as one of the more beguiling roster cuts in recent NFL lore.