Jul 22, 2013; Oxnard, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) at training camp at the River Ridge Fields. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant sees himself as a leader


Dez Bryant finally evolved into the wide receiver they had hoped for when trading up to draft him three years ago. He caught 92 passes for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns and many think Dez Bryant is maturing before their eyes, and he says there is no going back.

“I think there’s no backwards for me,” Bryant said, via ESPN Dallas.com. “I feel like I got that role here to lead by example doing all the right things and me being in that role to make sure these guys are doing the right thing. Not only on the field, but off the field.

“I take that to heart. I’m doing everything that I’m supposed to and it don’t feel like, ‘Hey, I’m structured, I gotta do this.’ I’m doing it out of my own heart. This is the type of guy I am. I’m not a bad guy. I feel like I owe it to these guys coming in.”

Bryant might be right; after a tumultuous off-season last year he had a pleasantly quiet one this year. But Bryant is the only one knowing his evolution.

“We’re real proud of Dez, the approach that he has taken, his consistency in meetings, walkthroughs, on the practice field,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “It has a lot to do with maturity he’s made as a person. It reflects in his play.

“When you’re doing those things and doing things the right way, there is no way you can’t gain confidence. When a guy like that has confidence to add to his ability, he really becomes a heck of a player.”

Those kind words mean the world to Bryant. A sign of his maturity might be that he doesn’t accept credit, but puts it on his coach and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as well as his teammates.

“It means a lot,” Bryant said. “I give a lot of credit to them. They stuck their neck out for me and they stayed with me. The time when I didn’t understand certain things, they did their best to help me understand things. And those things that I do understand now, that makes me that much more of a better person.

“Like I said, that all takes a role on me helping those younger guys on what I’ve learned from them. From the older guys, to [Tony] Romo, to Miles [Austin], to [DeMarcus] Ware, to [Jason] Hatcher, it’s all those guys. I’ll take what they give me and pass it on to somebody else. I feel like I’m so comfortable in my life. That’s what it’s about.”

The Cowboys have been looking for an emotional leader like the one that used to roam the sidelines in the #88 jersey, Michael Irvin. They might have found one roaming the sidelines in the #88 jersey named Dez Bryant.

“I feel good. I feel great,” Bryant said. “I thank Tony [Romo]. I thank all the coaches for counting on my and putting that trust in me to know everything the way I do. I feel like it’s my job to pay them back by going out and working hard.”

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