Cowboys' season ends with garbage bags

IRVING, Texas -- Monday was garbage bag day at Valley Ranch.

It’s never a good thing when the giant garbage bags get brought it. It means a season ended early. It means players need to put their personal effects into the bags, say goodbye to teammates and wonder what the future holds.

The Dallas Cowboys' season ended with a 26-21 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. The return trip was quiet. Jeremy Mincey said it was sad.

On Monday, players met with coach Jason Garrett, their position coaches, had exit physicals and walked out of the building for the first time since April knowing they don’t have a game or season in which to prepare.

“Man, it hurts,” cornerback Brandon Carr said. “I mean it’s so hard to get in the playoffs. It’s so hard to win games period. You’ve invested so much. Guys gave it their all through the season, nine months, throughout the whole year basically just for this season, these 17, or 20 weeks. It’s always hard to be packing your bag and know you got to sit at home and watch the rest of the playoffs play out.”

Jason Witten called it the worst day in his 12 years. He said he had never been on a team with the bond this team had.

“When it ends, you know the team never stays the same,” Witten said.

Dez Bryant’s 31-yard catch that was overturned was still a hot topic Monday.

“I don’t think there’s any question he caught the football,” Witten said. “So to me, they need to change the rule.”

But Witten also acknowledged the Cowboys did not make enough key plays at other moments in the game and the Packers did.

Mincey watched the replay more than a few times and still doesn’t know why it wasn’t a catch, but “it shouldn’t have come down to one play,” he said but amended the statement later.

It was more than one play, which was a message Garrett said after the game. At the team meeting Monday, he thanked the players for their hard work during the season. He said the process put in place years ago is working and believes better days are ahead.

Much better days than the garbage bag day.

“It was a great run,” Mincey said. “Unfortunately we didn’t get to where we all dream of, but we did a great job of staying together and fighting until the end. And it came down to one play and, hey, I think it was an epic season honestly.”