Cowboys' Hatcher happy with team leaders

Cowboys' Hatcher happy with team leaders

Published Jun. 5, 2012 2:09 p.m. ET

IRVING, Texas — Jason Hatcher caused a stir in February when he said he didn't know who the leaders were in the Dallas Cowboys' locker room.

During the months that followed, several Cowboys were asked about the team's leadership and the comments their teammate made to Dallas radio station KESN (103.3-FM).

Hatcher told Dallas radio station KESN (103.3-FM) at the time that the Cowboys need a vocal leader along the lines of Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis.

Hatcher is now backing off that belief, saying he prefers to move forward.

"That's water under the bridge," Hatcher said recently. "That happened months ago. It's a new day. I'm tired of kind of speaking about that. We're going in a good direction. I love my teammates. The leaders are the leaders and they're doing a great job."

The 29-year-old defensive end took on a larger role in 2011 when he became a starter under first-year defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

And, because of that, Hatcher understands younger players will be looking to him for advice.

He plans to provide it, but that doesn't necessarily mean he's seeking a leadership role.

"I'm going to do my job, and I'm going to do it well," Hatcher said. "I'm going to work hard every day. If I become that guy, then I become that guy. If I don't, I don't. At the end of the day I'm going to work my butt off, do what I'm supposed to do, be a great locker room guy, a great teammate. If I become a leader, I do. If I don't, I don't."

Hatcher knows that leaders ". . . got to earn respect. You don't just get in the locker room and say something on the radio and become a leader all of a sudden. You got to earn it."

So, if nothing else, Hatcher plans to lead by example.

"Every day I go out there I'm going to earn it," he said. "I'm going to go out there and work hard. . . . I'm going to be that guy that they can count on. That's all I can give to this team. I think my best is good enough."

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota