|You Want Positive Cowboys News? You Get Dez Bryant|
|by Mike Fisher||Wed, Sep 22, 2010, 02:30 PM|
You want positive Cowboys news?
*Starting 0-2 cannot be justification for panic in the streets unless starting 2-0 is justification for a parade down those same streets. And Tampa Bay, Chicago and Kansa City are among the 2-0’s. Which one of those clubs do you think is Super Bowl-bound?
*There are rumors that Miles Austin’s main squeeze, Kim Kardashian, is now squeezing on R&B star Chris Brown. So there goes that big-bootied “distraction.’’ (Maybe Kim doesn’t like 0-2, either?)
*And Dez Bryant.
There you go. The Dallas Cowboys positive news.
At this moment, when evaluating Dallas’ talent, it certainly appears that maybe Jerry Jones should fall in love with an offensive linemen or two instead of obsessing over the shiniest jewelry in the box. Jones, you know, is forever chasing Randy Moss. The Cowboys boss allowed himself to be scared off selecting a colorful, controversial wide receiver in the 1998 NFL Draft – the headline-grabbing escapades of Michael Irvin will do that to an owner, I suppose – and Jerry’s paid for the error ever since.
Over (with Joey Galloway) and over (with Keyshawn Johnson) and over (with Terrell Owens) and over (with Roy Williams) again.
Now Jones and the Cowboys are doing it again. But in addition to the re-upping of Austin (with an extension of six years worth $54 million), there is Bryant, the Oklahoma State product who was by far the NCAA’s top receiver in 2009 but who was available to Dallas way down there at pick No. 24 of the first round because …
Well, because his background revealed him to some NFL teams to be as scary (in a bad way) as Randy Moss and Michael Irvin.
Of course, there are times, in college and early on in the Cowboys’ training camp before sustaining a high-ankle sprain, when he looked as scary (in a good way) as Moss and Irvin … combined. And he did some of that again in the loss to Chicago with that electrifying punt return.
“They believed in me,’’ Dez says. “They chose me. “It’s a blessing.’’
So what was the problem? An arrest record? Nope. Drugs or alcohol issues? Nope. Violence? Nope. Conditioning issues, injury issues, contract issues? None of the above.
The Cowboys thought they possessed some insight into the kid on Draft Day; "They know more about me than anyone,’’ Dez says. And maybe that is so. Dallas scouts hung out with Bryant, got to know his people back home in Lufkin, Texas (where his high-school coach is the ironically named “John Outlaw’’) and maybe most of all, likely had some insight into him thanks to former Cowboys superstar Deion Sanders.
But wasn’t that part of Dez Bryant’s problem, too?
Bryant was ruled ineligible in his final season at OSU for lying to the NCAA about his relationship with Deion, the future Pro Football Hall-of-Famer who possesses a web of connections that reach to the highest points of the NFL (including Jerry’s office at Valley Ranch) and into the depths of youth-league football. A summer ago, Deion – who fancies himself a “mentor’’ to prospects, a role that creates a gray cloud over the legalities of such relationships – visited over lunch with Dez. It is assumed that Sanders did with Bryant what he’d done for fellow local wideout product Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech (and eventually, the 49ers): Big-brotherly guidance. Mentoring. Innocent stuff … unless you care to believe that Sanders is working in cooperation with an agent, or is even a de facto agent himself.
The NCAA does not view that area as “gray.’’ The governing body of college athletics quizzed Bryant about the lunch.
Bryant lied. He denied having a relationship with Sanders. (And indeed, eventually, Bryant chose as his agent Eugene Parker who – surprise! – used to be Deion Sanders’ agent.) That’s guilty enough, and so for the first time in his Oklahoma State career, college football found a way to prevent him from using his 6-foot-2, 225-pound frame to catch touchdown passes almost at will. (Understand, in Dez’ sophomore season of 2008 he totaled 87 receptions for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns, including two punt returns for scores.)
It suspended him for the season's final nine games.
Bryant’s path to this point has been a sometimes-difficult one. He didn’t know his father and his teenage mother served time in prison for dealing drugs. (Before the NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins drew the ire of Bryant and the public for asking him if his mom was a prostitute. By the way, for all the controversy and the hurt feelings, it seems to me be a notion that is more unsavory than it is unrealistic.)
If those sorts of things are ever “behind a person,’’ they can be behind Dez Bryant now.
Irvin, for one, believes the battle has been won.
"I won't take Dallas (to win games),'' Irvin said last week on national TV (and quoted here on ESPN), "until Dallas does whatever it takes to stop playing 10 vs. 11. And with Roy Williams on the field, the Cowboys are playing 10 vs. 11. Now, if they put the young boy Dez Bryant in, you better believe I'll take Dallas.''
So Bryant is in. He is wearing No. 88, same as Michael Irvin wore, same as Drew Pearson wore.
And he’s that shiny piece of jewelry, but maybe with true value.
And that’s your positive Cowboys news for the week.