Dez Bryant: “Walk around like a Champion” | 8:07 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant chats with Rich Eisen and Michael Irvin about his strong desire to win in the 2014-2015 season under the new offense. (Watch Video | No Audio)
Jerry on drafting Manziel “It was that close” | 8:00 | Jerry Jones sits down with Michael Irvin and Rich Eisen to discuss the upcoming 2014-2015 NFL season and how the Dallas Cowboys nearly drafted Johnny Manziel last May. (Watch Video | No Audio)
Dez Bryant: Contract will take care of itself | 4:39 | Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant meets with the media after a recent morning practice to talk about his expectations for the wide receiver group heading into camp. (Video | Audio)
RELATED: Dez Bryant continues to rise as a player and a young team leader
OXNARD, CA – By almost any measure, whether it’s his gaudy statistics, his rapidly-approaching payday or even his Madden rating, Dez Bryant is considered one of the league’s top receivers.
What Bryant said scares him is how much better he think he can still be.
“Truthfully, to be honest, I feel like, man, I’m still rising. I learn new things and things just become easier by the day,” Bryant said. “To me, it’s almost kind of scary to me just because of the fact of how much I love the game — not only myself, I want my teammates to be great. The way that I feel, I don’t hesitate to share that with my teammates. And I’m going to continue to keep doing that and see where we go from there.”
The concept of team was a popular topic during Bryant’s first speaking session of this training camp. That goes along with the somewhat surprising revelation that, despite being just 25 years old, Bryant is one of this team’s oldest, most experienced receivers.
“I’m not the old guy — I’m not,” Bryant said with a smile. “I’m still one of the youngest.”
That might be true, but with the departure of Miles Austin in the offseason, even more eyes are on Bryant – not just to produce, but to lead. Bryant said he reached out to the receivers during the offseason, organizing dinners and other activities for the group. That said, he maintained his desire to keep the receiver corps on an even field.
“Because of the experience, yeah, but other than that nothing has changed. Everybody, in the wide receiver group, looks at each other as the same,” he said. “That’s how I want it and that’s how they want it and that’s how we’re going to keep it, and we’re just going to continue to try to make each other better.”
If Bryant can truly improve on 185 receptions for 2,615 yards and 25 touchdowns – his combined totals for 2012 and 2013 – he really will have something scary on his hands. The contract talk that surrounds those type of numbers is sure to be loud, but in that regard Bryant maintained his stance from the spring.
“I’m confident in my play and I’m pretty sure that’s going to take care of itself,” he said. “There is no need for me to be stressed out or worried about it — it’s going to come. Like I said, it’s deserving. We’ll just wait and see what happens.”
In the meantime, the work continues with the team’s practices. The guy throwing Bryant the ball had some good perspective on continuing to build on a Pro Bowl season.
“I talk with him a lot about taking ownership and being the best version of himself,” said Tony Romo. “He’s already good but now he can dig in and find those little things that only he knows.”
RELATED: Dez Bryant describes how he’s becoming a better pro
IRVING, Texas – Even after a career-high 93 catches and a career-high 13 touchdowns, there are ways for a receiver to get better.
So what would those be for Dez Bryant, as he attempts to compile his third straight 1,200-yard season?
“Coming quicker off the ball, being at the correct depth, being patient on your routes,” Bryant said. “Just because it’s open in a certain coverage – not giving too much details – but not taking the bait, finishing the whole route and executing that play the best way I possibly can.”
Whereas all the offseason questions used to center on his off-field antics, they now focus on how he’s perfecting his craft as a receiver. That’s a credit to Bryant, who continues to establish himself both as a player and a person.
Now one of the top receiving threats around, Bryant said he’s known since he entered the league he had a target on his back. The key for him now, after proving himself among the NFL’s best, is leading his position group and, most importantly, staying positive through the good and bad.
That latter point was the hardest thing for Bryant to do in his transition to the NFL.
“I knew in my heart I’m a positive guy, and instead of me trying to explain and tell the world that I’m a positive guy, why not just go out and just show it and let everybody see it for themselves?” Bryant said. “I honestly feel like that’s what I’ve been doing. I’m not here to impress anybody. I’ve been doing what I wanted to do since I stepped foot in the league, and that’s be a role model for these kids. I’m going to keep trying to build that.”
Bryant gives credit to other leaders on the team – both current and former, including Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware, and Jason Hatcher – for showing him how to be a professional and how to handle himself the right way.
He said he’s taken what he already knew and what he learned from the veterans and helped it all sculpt him.
“I wasn’t understanding the whole process of how to be a professional player,” Bryant said. “As time went on, I started learning little by little and it all came together and still is.”
Bryant admitted it took him a while to understand how to be a professional. He had to figure that out early in his career, then get on the right track and remain steady.
He feels he’s done well with that recently, and as long as that continues, the questions thrown at him will all be football-related.
That’s a credit to Bryant, who’s overcome tribulations and let the positive influences from veterans around him mold him professionally and personally. He takes a great deal of pride in the steps that he’s taken throughout his career.
“I do, of course,” Bryant said. “I’ve got two baby boys and they watch me every day. I have to make sure I’m doing right.”