Bryant makes his debut

When the Dallas Cowboys finally took to the field Saturday in the Alamodome for their first practice of the 2010 preseason, the atmosphere made the event feel like a rock concert.

Nearly 19,500 people spent the first part of their weekend, and while the masses cheered for the team's top stars — Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware, etc. — some of the loudest roars were saved for No. 88.

Based on some of the noise generated when he trotted on to the field, or especially when he caught even the simplest pass, it would be understandable if observers thought Drew Pearson or Michael Irvin had time-warped his way on to the 2010 roster.

Bryant was the first player on the field Saturday, and from the first route that he ran, fans watched his every move. Simple catches drew applause, while twisting, one-handed grabs prompted ovations.

For a first-round draft choice who just inked a contract worth nearly $12 million, Bryant remains remarkably humble. He understands the hype surrounding him, but he said his focus for the time being is getting acclimated to his new teammates and coaches.

"I'm ready to play ball," Bryant said. "I'm ready to go, I'm fired up and just ready to play.

"It's a great experience. I love football, I'm very passionate for the game and that's the only thing I'm here to be thinking about."

Bryant said he appreciates the adulation he has gotten since Dallas traded up to take him in the first round of the April NFL Draft, but said he said he intends to remain the unpretentious rookie.

"As long as I know what kind of guy I am, (Jerry) Jones knows what kind of guy I am, my teammates know what kind of guy I am, that's the only thing that matters," Bryant said, "and that the fans know what kind of guy I am."

One player who has been impressed by Bryant during mini-camp and OTAs, as well as during Saturday's first practice, is quarterback Tony Romo.

"Well, when players come in (afer being drafted in) the first round, they have obviously done something right, and for good reason," Romo said. "Dez is a good football player, and he is showing people that.

"I've said it before, we have a very deep receiving core, and it's going to be fun watching everyone get to play."

"I feel like it's my job to impress the coaches and also to impress Romo," Bryant said. "I just want them to believe in me. I feel like I'm a great student of the game."

Veteran receiver Roy Williams, said Bryant's talent is obvious, but said it is up to the Cowboys' more experienced players to get their precocious new teammate ready to contribute.

"Everybody's seen him — he's a heck of a player," Williams said. "He's going to help us out. He had some spectacular grabs out there today. He's just a guy that's eager — eager to get on the field and eager to help his team win. We know the technical part of it — you guys just see the catches and everything, but you don't see the small things that we know. We want him to help us, so we have to help him help us."

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