Baltimore Ravens WR Dez Bryant excited to be facing Dallas Cowboys

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Two years after saying his release from the Dallas Cowboys was "very personal," Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Dez Bryant said he's hyped to play his former team on Tuesday for the first time -- but the reunion is no longer a grudge match.

"For the most part, it's water under the bridge," Bryant said Saturday. "That's two years. I had time to get myself together. You got to go forward with life because life isn't going to wait on you. Time waits on no one. I had to get myself together and move forward."

Bryant, 32, was a three-time Pro Bowl player during his eight seasons with the Cowboys, totaling 531 receptions for 7,459 yards and a franchise-record 73 touchdowns. He was released in April 2018 in a 20-minute meeting.

In a tweet shortly after his release, Bryant made it known that it wasn't his decision to part ways with the Cowboys, writing: "If I didn't have my edge I got it now ... I'm sorry they got to feel me. It's personal ... it's very personal."

When the Cowboys play in Baltimore on Tuesday night, Dallas will have a different head coach (Mike McCarthy instead of Jason Garrett) and a different quarterback (Andy Dalton in place of the injured Dak Prescott). But Bryant has plenty of other ties to the Cowboys, which makes this game so special to him.

"It's cool. I'm excited. I'm looking forward to it," Bryant said. "A lot of those guys on that team, I know [and] I'm real good friends with. I think when we line up across from one another, it's going to be fun. It's going to be an exciting moment."

What Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott remembers most about Bryant is his energy and aggressive mentality, saying the way he would go up and attack the football is unmatched.

"I think it's going to be fun," Elliott said. "Dez was a great teammate. One of my favorite teammates of all time. Even better player. I think it's definitely great to see him getting his shot again. I wish him the best."

Earlier this week, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told 105.3 FM in Dallas that he was happy to see Bryant on the field, but he was "a little worried" because he knows how Bryant can pull down passes.

"He's very passionate; I'm very passionate," Bryant said of Jones. "I think that's why our relationship clicked the way that it clicked. One thing I will always have for Mr. Jones is respect. I'm thankful that he drafted me and gave me an opportunity to play for this franchise. I'm a Texas boy. I grew up a Cowboy fan. I'm thankful for that. But I'm here. I'm excited to be a Baltimore Raven. I'm looking forward to going up against those guys."

After joining the Ravens' practice squad on Oct. 27, Bryant was signed to the active roster four weeks later. In three games, Bryant hasn't had much of an impact on the NFL's 31st-ranked passing attack, making four catches for 28 yards.

"I think Dez has been a true pro since the moment he got here," Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "His attitude has been great every week. I'm sure there's an extra glimmer this week for him."

The last three times a team's all-time leader in touchdown catches played against them for the first time, that player went on to record at least one touchdown reception, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. The player's new team also went on to win.

ESPN's Todd Archer contributed to this report.