Cowboys Dez Bryant: Mo' Money, Mo' Maturity
Dallas Cowboys star receiver Dez Bryant vows that money won't change him. But that doesn't mean he's not changing.
Bryant says there is "no pressure" that comes with the $70 million in his rich new contract.
There is just ... well, $70 million that comes in his rich new contract.
But there is pressure. And it's self-imposed, the sort that exists for any of us who, seemingly overnight, zoom from an irresponsible child to a father of three, suddenly responsible to children. (Even strangers who are children who squeal for autographs.) That doesn't mean Dez isn't retaining some child-like tendencies ...
“I have to be a right role model for them before I can be a role model for anybody else,” Bryant said this week as Cowboys training camp opened in Oxnard, an event featuring "face-of-the-franchise'' Bryant -- a label given him by owner Jerry Jones -- as a centerpiece in ever way.
“It’s no pressure," Dez said in reference to the contract he fought so hard for. "That deal don’t make me. I play this game because I love this game. I don’t give a damn about none of that. It’s not going to change the way I play. It’s not going to change the way I act. I’m here.
Bryant doesn't mean to sound unappreciative. He made sure to demonstrate that when talking about Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. In fact, he can rattle off an assortment of relationships that have made him something different than the kid with the difficult upbringing in Lufkin.
Said Dez: “I never been afraid to say that, ‘Hey, it’s time for me to grow up here,’ or ‘Hey, you need to understand this a little bit more.’ I never ran from that kind of stuff. If I’ve seen it, I try my best to fix it. I think I improved in a lot of different ways. I have real responsibilities now.”
Bryant on Jones: "The relationship, it don't change. I know Jerry loves me. I love Jerry."
Bryant on Tony Romo: “The relationship that we have is outstanding. Romo always has been a positive guy to me and he always cared about the decisions that I made and he gave me credit with the maturity over the years. I think it’s been good for him to see me to have evolved into the person I am today.”
Bryant on Roc Nation, which is now helping mold his career: “They gave me a boost of confidence, I give them that. They gave me a boost of confidence. And I thank them. I’m cautious in a good way about the moves that I make. Just because certain things that came about, even if they were false, I take all blame for all of that. I just know that it will never happen again. I will never be in those kind of situations to where somebody can say this or say that. That will never happen again.”
"Certain things''? Over the course of his lift, there have been troubles. But this season, there were mostly unicorns. For all the talk of "off-field concerns,'' Dallas' willingness to include a $45 mil signing bonus in his deal essentially provides their answer to the questions of concerns. Dez himself, of course, spoke occasionally through social media and to CowboysHQ.com, too, to express his views on the naysayers.
“Everything that I tweeted, said, I meant it,'' he said. "It was me. It was me. I try my best to come off as everything you see about me, that everything that you see me doing is real. It’s legit. Everything that you see me speak on a video, on a tweet is real. That’s me. That’s not about 'he says, she says'; you can forget about it. If you didn’t hear it come out of my mouth, it’s not legit.”
The player is legit. The contract is legit. The personal growth is, too.
"I love that,'' Dez said of his newfound financial security. "But as far as me performing on the field, like, I take full pride in that.”
The other source of "pride" and "love" that results from the new contract that isn't just about money?
“I see myself always," Dez said, "a Cowboy at heart.”
And we can increasingly see him as a Cowboy with heart ... and maybe with maturity, too.