OXNARD, Calif. -- Dez Bryant’s off-field drama tests the patience of owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
That’s only because Bryant is blessed with extraordinary talent. If Bryant’s potential wasn’t so immense, Jones’ patience would have probably expired long ago.
“There is no doubt that Dez Bryant is exceptionally talented,” Jones said. “It has certainly served to give him the consideration that’s he’s gotten frankly in life. And I think he, like us all, (has) got to realize where your bread is buttered.
“You’ve got to realize that that is not there for you if you do not adhere to society’s rules. He’s got to realize that. We know and he knows -- and he knows that we know -- that controversy, we know is not good overall for the Cowboys and is not good for the league, and that there are consequences, and we will deal with those as we move along and get more information.”
It’s not as if the Cowboys have been caught off guard by Bryant’s issues, which are in the spotlight again because of the receiver’s recent arrest on a misdemeanor family violence charge for allegedly assaulting his mother.
It was those issues that made it possible for the Cowboys to draft Bryant with the 24th overall pick in the first place. He was a top-10 talent whom other teams passed on -- or took off their draft boards altogether -- because of character concerns.
The Cowboys knew Bryant would be a special case, and they made the conscious decision that he was worth a unique investment of time and resources.
“Is he an individual or a player that you spend more time, you invest more of your thoughts in that other players? Yes,” Jones said. “So you certainly couldn’t have 53 players ultimately on your team that you give the kind of consideration and time that you do to Dez. But you say, well, a No. 1 draft pick and an outstanding player, why not? I agree with that. Why not?”
But Bryant has yet to be the kind of impact player the Cowboys envisioned when they made the risk-reward decision to draft him.
Bryant had a pretty good year in his second season, by any measure. He ranked 30th in receiving yards (928) and tied for sixth in touchdown catches (nine), but he didn’t have any 100-yard games and wasn’t a dominant force.
Jones sees “a man among boys” on the practice field who could be so much better, citing injuries and conditioning as the primary factors that have held Bryant back. Jones believes Bryant will benefit tremendously from an offseason of work with six-time Super Bowl champion strength coach Mike Woicik.
“He is a very important part to what we are going to try to do here, providing he can deal with and we can deal with (his off-field issues) successfully,” said Jones, whose Super Bowl championship teams weren’t exactly made up entirely of Boy Scouts. “Successful being him being part of this team and be a part of helping us win games.”
Bryant better produce if he wants his boss to keep being patient with him.