OXNARD, California -- For nearly 30 minutes Monday afternoon, Dez Bryant leaned back on a fence, helmet propped up on the top of his head, the picture of contentment.
Bryant's past two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys have not been his best. In 2015, a broken foot and knee injury limited him to nine games. A year ago, he suffered a tibial plateau fracture and missed three games.
None of that past matters to Bryant as he opens training camp.
"I tell you this: I feel way better than those last few training camps just because of the fact of both those training camps, I had no OTAs, no nothing. Coach Garrett didn't want me to do anything just because he wanted me to get myself together, which I respect. (This year) got an opportunity to get into OTAs, do the entire minicamp. I did that. Come into here, I feel good. I feel great and as the days go on, I'm just looking forward to tomorrow, man. Look forward to tomorrow, the next day, the next day, the next day all the way up to Sept. 10."
Bryant's belief is that the work he did this offseason will help him get to the form he had in 2014 when he caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and led the NFL in touchdown catches with 16. Leading into the 2015 season, he missed the entire offseason in a contract dispute after the Cowboys placed the franchise tag on him. Leading into 2016, he was limited in his offseason work because of a second foot surgery.
His production dropped. He had 31 catches for 401 yards and three touchdowns in 2015. He had 50 catches for 796 yards and eight touchdowns last season.
And that does not upset him.
"What a lot of these people out here don't understand, hey, man, we're not a pass-friendly offense," Bryant said. "That's no disrespect. I respect what we do around here and I accepted that. But when the ball comes my way I'm going to do what I got to do. Like, I don't think nobody has been more productive with the amount of targets that I get. I don't get as many, and I'm not complaining. But at the same time, if I was getting that many passes I'll be doing that much damage as well."
The Cowboys have an Ezekiel Elliott-centric offense. They lean on the running game more than most teams because of Elliott and an offensive line that features All-Pros Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin.
Bryant turns 29 in November and is entering his eighth season. He is not worried about what happened the past two seasons.
"Because it's 2017," he said. "It's not 2016, '15, or '14. It’s 2017. That year hasn't started yet. We're just going to see what happens. Like I said, I feel good. You're going to see at the end of the year."