Old School 101: Drew Pearson, being a pro

Sonny Davis might have been the first Cowboys player to wear the number, but Drew Pearson is known as the original No. 88.

As part of our Old School 101 series, we talk to Pearson, one of the great Cowboys' players, about being a professional. Pearson knows how to do it on and off the field.

Pearson played for the Cowboys from 1973-83 and finished his career third all-time in franchise history with 7,822 yards. He played 58 consecutive games with at least one catch, third in franchise history, and is the all-time leader in consecutive games with a catch in the postseason with 22.

Pearson has been critical of current Cowboys receivers Dez Bryant and Roy Williams, but this time he talks about just dealing with everyday life, an aspect with which Bryant has struggled.

Here's out chat and video of Pearson:

Q: Dez Bryant has had some troubles off the field. Why?

A: Part of being a professional is you understand you need to be professional as you reach a certain level of maturity as an individual. Your personality develops as you get older; for him it might be on the fast track. Some kids don't get to that level or have that opportunity to accept being a professional or not until they're out of college or in corporate America. As a young athlete, it's thrust upon you to be a professional and you have to decide which way you want to go. You can have all these people around you but it's up to you to how you want to carry yourself, not only on the field but off the field.

Q: How much can your teammates help you in terms of being a pro? DeMarcus Ware talked about talking to his teammates, especially Bryant, in private and not on the phone. Thoughts?

A:They can say it and speak up, and everybody does it in a different way. To me, the way you just talk about how DeMarcus wants to handle Dez, that's how a professional needs to handle it and if I'm Dez he needs to hang with him and talk with him. Instead of coming at him by yelling at him and stuff like that, [Ware] is coming at him from a different way. He wants to sit down with him and if he ever takes DeMarcus Ware up on that, by talking with him, I think it would be a valuable lesson. And he could learn more about handling himself instead of having all of these advisers.

Q: Did you have people around you that tried to get you to do things? Did you need a 'no' man, instead of a 'yes' man, as Deion Sanders said some athletes have in general?

A: No. Everybody wanted to be part of it, so they would do everything they can, including agree with you or hang with you and do everything you wanted to do. It's not good, because they're not challenging you, sometimes when you want to do the right thing, somebody else wants to do the wrong thing. You can't give in to let people do what they want to do with you.