Garrett: Dez Bryant not a distraction

Dez Bryant's sideline outbursts will dominate the discussion about the Dallas Cowboys for several days, but head coach Jason Garrett is adamant that the emotional receiver is not a distraction.

“Dez is the furthest thing from a distraction or anything like that,” Garrett said Monday morning on KRLD-FM. “He’s a hell of a player. Everybody loves him, because we love his spirit and we love his passion. Again, we got to keep doing a better job of making sure he’s involved in what we’re doing each week and helping our football team.”

Though quarterback Tony Romo claimed Bryant has never complained about not getting the ball, Garrett acknowledged that Bryant’s sideline tirade late in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Detroit Lions was due to his frustration about not being involved in the offense.

Bryant was targeted only six times Sunday, catching three passes for 72 yards and two touchdowns. He wasn’t targeted until the final minute of the first half, and at the time of his rant toward Romo, Bryant had only two catches for 22 yards.

Garrett said Bryant’s frustration was rooted in a burning desire to help the Cowboys win.

“Dez is a passionate guy,” Garrett said. “He loves football. He’s a great competitor. He loves our football team, and he wants to help our team. He’s a fantastic teammate. Everybody loves him. We love to coach him. We love what he’s all about. He wanted to contribute to the game. We understand that. We want guys who want the football, and Dez certainly wants it.”

Garrett had a one-on-one discussion with Bryant after the game about focusing and channeling his energy properly. Bryant also had a heated sideline confrontation with Jason Witten and DeMarcus Ware, who were trying to calm him down after the Lions scored the go-ahead touchdown with 12 seconds remaining.

“You talk to him very direct, man-to-man and you just say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to get locked in on what’s happening,’” Garrett said, referring to the need to focus on the next play. “We appreciate the passion, the enthusiasm, all of that stuff. That’s what we want from all of our players.

“The great players have that, the great teams have that, but you just have to focus it and channel it. He understands that.”