OXNARD, Calif. -- Veteran safety Brodney Pool was signed in the off-season by the Dallas Cowboys as they worked to improve their secondary.
Only a week into camp, the Cowboys have decided they have better options.
Pool, who previously played for Cowboys defensive co-ordinator Rob Ryan and new secondary coach Jerome Henderson, was released Monday along with rookie cornerback Isaac Madison. Dallas had to clear roster spots to sign receiver David Little and running back Javarris Williams.
"It's disappointing how things turned out with Brodney," Ryan said. "He's a great kid; he works hard. He just wasn't the same guy in my opinion that I'm used to."
Pool signed a one-year deal with Dallas during free agency in March. Before playing the last two years for the New York Jets, Pool began his career with five seasons in Cleveland. Ryan and Henderson were there his last year with the Browns, when Pool had a career-high four interceptions.
When the Cowboys reported to camp July 29, Pool was one of three players who failed the initial conditioning test, a series of timed sprints. He had to do several days of remedial running before passing the second test and starting to practice Friday.
"I think from just reporting where it didn't go well, where he didn't make the conditioning ... I'm not sure if he has other things on his mind. I know he's recently married, maybe he's thinking about that," Ryan said. "We needed to move on for the best interest of us, and to get these young guys going, and I think, I told you before, this is all about competition. We're going to keep the best players."
Barry Church, a third-year player, has taken all the first-team snaps in camp along with safety Gerald Sensabaugh.
Coach Jason Garrett said the team wanted to give Pool a chance and see where he was in his career. But he said the contract was structured in a way where Pool wasn't guaranteed "anything at that point."
The coach was asked if the decision to release Pool was more of what Church had done in camp or what Pool wasn't doing.
"Probably a combination. The younger guys really stepping up in there and saying, 'Hey, uh, we deserve a shot at this job.' And we want to make sure we give those guys opportunities," Garrett said. "Probably not a good fit for our team right now. I don't want to over-evaluate the situation, but Brodney has been a guy who has played in this league for coaches on our staff and then that's why he was brought in, because of their fondness for him. But, ultimately, we have to see how he plays and how he fits. We thought this was the best decision for our team."