Dez Bryant needs time to focus on himself

DALLAS -- Dez Bryant is a fighter. But he's a fighter who seems to be losing a battle within himself.

After reviewing the recent events surrounding the Dallas Cowboys wide receiver, the most important conclusion that can be made has nothing to do with football. It has to do with a young man traveling down a harmful and dangerous path. It has to do with Bryant's well-being.

Bryant is in a state that calls for the focus to be on himself. That's why taking some time away from football might just be the best thing for the talented but troubled player. A leave of absence in a structured counseling environment could be enough to save a promising football career. More importantly, it could turn around a tumultuous lifestyle, the only kind Bryant has ever known.

Bryant has obligations to his kids, his mother, his teammates, his coaches and the NFL. But for Bryant to ever live up to those obligations, he needs to take care of himself first.

If he doesn't deal with his emotional issues now, he very well could wind up broke, alone and forgotten sooner than we could imagine.

Bryant's life is messed up. But how he got to this point isn't all on the young man. In fact, he's fought through incredible hardships, as has his mother, Angela, who brought Dez into the world when she was 15. The family has seen adversity usually reserved for the movies.

One would understand if Bryant's anger and temper stem from his difficult childhood. He bounced around from house to house, not knowing where or when to expect to see his mom or dad.

Football has always been his only safe haven.

Trouble arose again last week, when Bryant was charged with family violence for allegedly hitting and grabbing his mother. The incident, which apparently grew out of an argument between Bryant and his stepbrother, escalated to the point at which his mother was heard alleging on a 911 call that Bryant assaulted her.

The original accusation and the later statement from the Bryants' attorney that Dez's mother did not want to move forward with the charges only masks a sad situation.

A situation that has nothing to do with football.

Bryant clearly has anger issues. From an argument in a mall over something as silly as saggy pants, to a night club confrontation with a celebrity rapper, to the latest accusations that he struck his mother, anger always seems to be at the root of his problems.

He's mad about something. It could be his upbringing. It could be how his life is currently constructed. He could be mad at how he's perceived by the fans and the media. Without really getting Bryant to open up about it, we might never know where that anger is focused.

What is clear is that whatever is troubling Bryant needs to be addressed immediately.

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