Bill Parcells knows exactly why Quincy Carter failed with the Cowboys. And it has nothing to do with drugs. Or mental illness.
The 2001 second-roound pick -- the 53rd player taken -- had a substantial fear of success.
That's why he figured out a way to get released in training camp less than a year after leading the Cowboys to a 10-6 record and their first playoff berth since 1999.
"I became pretty close with Quincy personally, and this kid had a lot of good qualities," Parcells said. "He was smart. He understood it. But I just couldn’t save his ass. I really couldn’t.
"You just didn’t have the time. There he is, he got his team in the playoffs, he’s the starting quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, he’s playing good, he’s improving, he can get out of trouble, he’s pretty smart, he can make almost every throw -- and it’s just, some people just can’t fight the pressure to succeed.
"They just can’t fight it. It’s too much on them once the bar gets up a little bit. It’s too much. I don’t know all the problems or the demons exactly, but that’s what eventually took him down."
Carter started three games for the New York Jets in 2004 and never played another NFL down.
Tony Romo was an undrafted free agent on the 2004 Cowboys, hoping to prove he belonged in the NFL. Forty-one-year-old Vinny Testeverde, who started 15 games, and Drew Henson were also on the roster for the Cowboys, who finished 6-10.
Less than three seasons later, Romo started his first game for the Cowboys. Now, he's one of the league's best quarterbacks.
Parcells wasn't surprised Romo received an opportunity to play.
"There were a couple of guys there that I knew I was going to have trouble counting on," Parcells said. "Henson because of his newness and he didn’t seem to be able to sort things out and Quincy because of, you know ... "