Dez Bryant completes first full practice since Week 1 injury

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dez Bryant says his love for football is the primary reason he is still playing in the Dallas Cowboys' disappointing 3-8 season.

Bryant, who broke his foot in the opener against the New York Giants and missed the next five games, said Thursday that he completed his first full practice since the injury.

"I could've easily put this thing in the bag with all of the injuries I'm dealing with, but I'm not," said Bryant, who also injured his knee and ankle on a touchdown catch in the back of the end zone against the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 8. "I'm not here making no excuses. I'm trying my best to get right. To get right, I gotta be practicing and be out in games to get back to the level I want to be at. I'm feeling better by the day.

"I'll tell you this: This is the best I've felt since I've been back. I'm still getting better and moving better. I'm more confident."

Coach Jason Garrett said he has been impressed with Bryant's determination to get on the field.

"He's been dealing with a lot of different things, really all year long, and he's done a good job fighting through all of that stuff," Garrett said. "One of the things we all believe in is practice. Hopefully, over the course of the week, the practice will help him refine his route running and everything about his game that will help him play better."

Bryant missed the entire offseason as he negotiated a new contract with the Cowboys that resulted in him signing a five-year, $70 million deal that made him the NFL's fourth-highest-paid receiver. He strained his hamstring in training camp and missed considerable practice time and the entire preseason.

The Cowboys could use a healthy Bryant to help their offense, especially with quarterback Tony Romo out for the regular season with a broken collarbone.

Bryant has caught 23 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns this season. He has had one 100-yard game while being held to fewer than 50 yards receiving in each of the past three games. He has caught only 23 of 50 passes (46 percent) directed his way, an indication the injuries have limited his explosiveness and ability to create separation from defensive backs.

This from a player who was named to the All-Pro team last season and has averaged 91 catches, 1,312 yards and 14 touchdowns over the past three seasons. Bryant understands the Cowboys need him to be a difference-maker, especially because they still have a mathematical opportunity to make the playoffs.

"Every day of my life, I put that pressure on me," Bryant said. "I be me, and I feel like me is good enough -- the way I do things, the way I carry myself, the way the guys know who I am. They know how I feel about this game.

"I try to take advantage of every opportunity, and if it comes my way, I'm going to take advantage of it."