Dallas Cowboys | Dez Bryant: BOYZ to MEN (an NFL tale)


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Dallas Cowboys | Dez Bryant: BOYZ to MEN (an NFL tale)
By Jefferson Douglas – Featured Artist Silver and Blue Report & Hook’em Report

Dez Bryant | Dallas Cowboys: Dallas Cowboys Blog

I’m sure we all remember the 2009 draft …  12, count em, TWELVE picks and not a starter in the bunch. Shoot, barely a PLAYER in the bunch and a mere 4 years down the road, not a player left on the roster. Determined to make a big splash the following year, Jerry sets his sights on a gifted, yet deeply troubled young wide receiver from Oklahoma State.
Yes, Jerry finally had his Randy Moss and he was grinning like a Cheshire cat when he fell into the Cowboys’ lap. Fans and critics alike could be seen everywhere with bloody faces after all the head scratching. After all, here was a “kid” who had been suspended for his last year of school for speaking to an NFL player (Deion Sanders) and then lying to the NCAA about it. There were also rumors of laziness, tardiness, and the dreaded sense of entitlement. Geez Jerry…didn’t you learn anything from Pac Man, Tank Johnson and the like?

Fast forward to the 2010 season. Man THIS KID CAN BALL. It was obvious he had no grasp of the offense, no clue where to line up or what routes to run, but when he got his hands on the ball, well it was just something to witness. I remember hearing one of the Cowboys announcers boldly proclaim after a few games…”sorry DeMarcus, but this kid is already the best player on the team”. Meanwhile, the off the field stuff was trickling in like a leaky faucet just ready to burst. Sure, it was silly stuff, (kicked out of the mall for wearing baggy pants, running up a huge jewelry (?) bill and then refusing to pay) and those watching with hopeful instead of cynical eyes were thinking “well, he’s just young, dumb and not ready for this lifestyle yet”, but there was no denying what was happening on the field. He couldn’t stay healthy, and when he did, he seemed out of shape and never had anything left in the 4th quarter. And then there was the BONEHEADED MISTAKES. Running the wrong route and hanging Romo out to dry. Fighting for extra yards and fumbling. We saw it everywhere. He would spend his second season injured, gassed, and mostly lost. Despite it all, we saw the raw talent and were encouraged with Dez’s seeming growth in the 2012 off season, and stoked with the knowledge that most great wide receivers seem to “get it” in their 3rd year. Yeah, Dez was becoming a man and Jerry and Jason told us so. Bring on the 2012 season!!!

SCREAAACHHHHHAAAAH. (that’s the sound a record album makes when you suddenly lift the needle off of it…anyone familiar with the old Cheech and Chong bit “EARACH MY EYE!” knows it well) “blah blah blah….sources report that Dallas Cowboy receiver Dez Bryant….blah blah…arrested on domestic violence charges…blah blah” Oh God…here we go. As details emerged, it sounded like our “new man” wide receiver had smacked his own mother around during an argument. This was bad. People all over the country were calling for his head. “Kid is a thug” “anyone who would hit his own mother..” Heck even the great Roger Staubach weighed in saying there was no excuse to ever lay a hand on your mother. Like I said, bad. Let’s just forget the fact that Dez’s mother had him at 15 and by all accounts was indeed a very bad person herself. I mean, Dez did some dumb stuff, but as far as we know he never sold drugs and then got hooked on them himself. My point? This wasn’t your “average” son hitting his mom episode. Was it justified? I don’t know, I wasn’t there. You would hope that he would have the willpower to walk away from that situation no matter how much he was provoked. Apparently he didn’t and now his foreseeable future was in the DA’s hands. Is he going to jail? Is he going to be suspended by Goodell? The sportswriters were predicting at least 4 games.

Dez Bryant started the 2012 regular season with a cloud over him. Never mind the charges were dropped by his mother and he was no longer looking at punishment, the court of public opinion was grumbling behind his back…”it’s time to cut our losses with this clown” His on field “flashes” were just not outweighing the stupidity. That’s when the Cowboys organization did something wonderful. Rather than knee jerk this kid right out the door, instead they took him in. They gave him guidelines (though it was reported that he was given a set of rules to follow or hit the road) and they gave him love. They told him “we’re your family now…we want you to succeed and we have your back”. Yes, there was some tough love there too, but mostly it was a team and an organization reaching out to a young man who was not a bad person, rather a kid trapped in a man’s body. This kid wasn’t mean or bad, he just flat didn’t know any better. Dez Bryant wasn’t raised at all. With that in mind, it’s amazing that he somehow has ANY moral compass, that he’s not on a street corner or in jail. Yes, the team gave him love and did you see the lights come on? WOW. The last 9 games of the 2012 season were Dez Bryant’s private coming out party. He became Romo’s “go to guy” (Witten was the “bail out” guy). It was almost surreal to watch it happening before our very eyes. The unselfishness he displayed while playing with the broken finger showed growth that we thought we may never see from him.

It’s spring training. That means hope, pessimism, and apathy from the jaded fans of this team. Will this finally be the year? Will we continue our plodding journey down the suck highway? Will Jerry finally retire or choke on a peach pit and let us get a real GM? I don’t know the answer to any of these things but I do know this…I’ve never been prouder of a player than I am Dez Bryant. I am rooting for him to succeed and grow like I have never rooted before. As a fan of the Dallas Cowboys, his continued growth on the field can only bring week after week of excitement and hope. On a much more selfish level, his continued growth off the field can only bring warmth to my old jaded heart. The Cowboys May have finally found their Randy Moss, and oh so much more.

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