IRVING, Texas -- Dez Bryant worked as a punt returner in Wednesday’s practice, and Jerry Jones didn’t protest at all.
Jones made a big issue about using Bryant in the return game after the dynamic young receiver suffered a deep thigh bruise on a punt return in last season’s opener, an injury that bothered Bryant for several weeks. Jones relaxed his stance over the course of the season, and it now appears he’ll actually trust his coaching staff to make those calls.
“I have no issue with us making business decisions relative to him returning punts,” Jones said. “What I do want him to do is to get enough repetitions so he can have a sense of fielding them and when to field them and when not to field them and make those kinds of judgments, but I like him back there to use him.
“When we’ve got a long field or a chance for a return, he’s quite a weapon and I’m for using him.”
Bryant, who is splitting punt return reps with fringe roster candidate Dwayne Harris, didn’t provide much reward for the risk last season, when he averaged only 6.9 yards per return. That, however, was evidence of the Cowboys’ trouble blocking on punt returns as much as anything.
There is no doubt Bryant has the potential to be one of the NFL’s most dangerous punt returners. Just look at his rookie year for proof: He averaged 14.3 yards per return in 2010, taking it to the house on two of 15 attempts.