Released by Cowboys, Dez Bryant wants to stay in NFC East

FRISCO, Texas -- Dez Bryant hopes to remain in the NFC East after his eight-year run with the Dallas Cowboys ended Friday.

"I won't say any teams, but being in the division, that's a huge possibility," Bryant told NFL Network. "That's a huge possibility. That's something that I want."

In a late-morning meeting that lasted approximately 20 minutes, Bryant was told he would be released by owner and general manager Jerry Jones. The Cowboys did not offer Bryant a pay cut and did not designate him a post-June 1 cut.

He was set to make $12.5 million and count $16.5 million against the cap. With the move, the Cowboys will save $8.5 million against the cap.

Late last season Bryant said he would not accept a pay cut, but he told the NFL Network that he would have been open to one if it had been offered.

"The only question I was going to have for that was, even if I did take a pay cut, am I going to be able to come in to work and be happy?" Bryant said. "Will I be able to enjoy it? Because I already got a feeling that this person don't like me."

Bryant put the decision to release him on coaches and players he labeled as "Garrett guys," but he did not name anybody specifically.

"I won't put no names out, but they know, and I went them to know I know," Bryant told NFL Network.

"I'll shoot them a text message and let them know. Little do they know is, they can wear that 'C' all they want to, but in the locker room, they know they run and they talk, too. They know who they communicate with. Everybody knows where the real love is at."

Added Bryant: "I'm a direct guy, and I only know one way to be. I wake up, sleep, breathe football. If somebody don't like me, I'd love to know that. You're supposed to go about it that way, learn how to respect and work with somebody even if you don't like that person. I did it."

In a series of tweets earlier Friday, Bryant said he's extra-motivated post-release.

Bryant's production slipped the past three seasons after signing a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015. He did not record a 1,000-yard season and was slowed by foot and knee injuries. He played in every game last season and had 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns.

"As an organization we hold Dez Bryant in the highest regard, and we are grateful for his passion, spirit and contributions to this team for the past eight years," Jones said in a statement.

"He will always be a valued member of our family. Dez and I share a personal and professional relationship that is very strong, and he is one of just a handful of players with whom I have become that close to over the past 30 years. This was not an easy decision. It was made based upon doing what we believe is in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. We arrived at this crossroad collectively with input from several voices within the organization. Ultimately we determined it was time to go in a new direction."