Dez Bryant doesn’t mind fair and honest criticism, but don’t try to slap the diva-receiver stereotype on him.
Don’t attempt to portray him as a prima donna.
Don’t mistake Bryant’s confident ambition – the kind that makes him believe he’s capable of becoming the first 2,000-yard receiver in NFL history – for arrogance or selfishness.
“Let me start off by saying Dez Bryant is in no way, shape or form a prima donna,” Bryant said during a Thursday evening appearance on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM. “I look at myself as physical, rough, tough, ruthless whenever I’m on the field. That’s the attitude, that’s the approach I like to have when I’m out there on the field. I don’t think prima donna falls anywhere near that category. I just don’t, in my opinion.
“To answer your question, I feel like every receiver should believe in something. It’s not 2,000 yards. That’s not a goal I’m trying to reach. I just feel like I can get better from what I did last year. That should be any receiver’s mindset each and every year. If you have a good year or a bad year, you should feel like you should get better. That’s how you be successful, by having the right attitude and really grinding and trying to be the best you can be.”
Diva receivers tend to believe that the quarterback’s job is to get them the ball. See a certain ex-Cowboy who wore No. 81.
Bryant takes the opposite approach. He has always considered it his job to earn the trust of Tony Romo, whom he was admittedly in awe of as a wide-eyed rookie.
“I never see Tony as an equal,” Bryant said. “I’m still a big fan of Romo. I’m very fortunate that I had an opportunity to play with him, but I think the thing that’s changed in our relationship is that me and Tony are real great friends. I feel that also makes it much better on the field for us to have that type of relationship off the field.”
Prima donnas at that position tend to pout when the ball doesn’t come their way early and often. Bryant caught only nine passes in first quarters last season, but he had zero headline-grabbing sideline outbursts and ended 2012 with career highs in catches (92), yards (1,382) and touchdowns (12).
“I always look at it as it all depends on how the game’s going,” Bryant said. “If [the ball doesn’t come my way], I get it. If things are not flowing or going my way, I understand why. Basically, it’s just the flow of the game.
“If it’s my way, it’s my way. If things are going good for me, keep coming. It’s basically like basketball, giving a guy the ball whenever he’s hot. That’s what goes on during a game.
“One game it might be Miles [Austin], one game it might be [Jason] Witten, one game it might be DeMarco [Murray], one game it might be me. That’s how I look at it.”
Sounds just like Jason Garrett, huh? Prima donnas aren’t puppets for their head coach.
“I’m just telling the truth,” Bryant said. “That’s all.”