Dez Bryant will go down in history as one of the best receivers to ever play for the Dallas Cowboys. Due to some of his recent actions, Bryant has received his fair share of hate. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Still, as the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover. We know Bryant’s cover so that begs the question: Who is Desmond Demond “Dez” Bryant?
Dez Bryant didn’t always live the luxurious life he has right now. Born to a 15-year-old mother, Bryant had a troubled past. When Dez was 8 years old, his mother was arrested for selling crack cocaine. The loss of his mother eventually led to Bryant spending time in eight different homes while attending Lufkin High School. While at Lufkin High School, Dez played football and putting up numbers that were just impossible to ignore. His impressive ball skills and leaping ability put him on the scouting boards of many college football teams. He was ranked 9th on the wide receiver prospect in the class of 2007.
After being recruited by numerous major programs, Bryant took official visits to Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, and Texas Tech. Ultimately, he decided to be an Oklahoma State Cowboy. As a freshman for OSU, Dez Bryant had a mediocre season. Nonetheless, he managed to set an OSU freshman record with a total of 155 yards in a game.
In his sophomore year, Bryant exploded for an incredible 1480 yards, 87 receptions and 19 touchdowns. Bryant went into his junior year with a consensus that he was the best receiver.
Bryant’s 2009 season was cut short because he violated an NCAA bylaw. He failed to fully disclose his interaction with Deion Sanders to the NCAA. Had he not been suspended, he could have been a possible Heisman contender. Bryant would not return for a 4th year. Instead, he announced his intentions to join the NFL draft.
The Dallas Cowboys selected Dez Bryant with the 24th pick of the 2010 NFL Draft. Bryant’s first impact on the Cowboys came off the field when he chose the number 88. This is a prestige number on the Cowboys. Michael Irvin and Drew Pearson wore that number too.
During Bryant’s first season, he went down with a fractured ankle against the Colts. Despite having a sidelining injury, Bryant managed to put up 561 yards on 45 receptions and 6 touchdowns. Bryant’s next season was the beginning of his take over. In that season, he recorded 63 receptions for 928 yards and 9 touchdowns.
After that season was over, there were reports that Dez had struck his biological mother on the face. This story understandably damaged Dez Bryant’s reputation. Fans found him arrogant and it made the NFL question his maturity.
The next three seasons for Dez Bryant were all up to par with Pro Bowl level. In those seasons, he got more than 3500 yards and more than 40 touchdowns. That was the best stretch of Bryant’s career.
Unfortunately, that successful stretch didn’t completely end how he would have hoped. Due to a controversial call, the Dallas Cowboys were headed home after the second round of the playoffs. On 4th down and 1, the Cowboys took out the leagues rushing leader and put the game in the hands of Tony Romo. Being rushed by a majority of the Packer’s defensive front 7, Romo threw a jump ball up to Bryant. He came down with what looked like a catch. However, it was later reviewed and overturned. This caused a large outcry from Cowboys fans everywhere. Despite the loss in the playoffs, Bryant performed exceptionally.
He didn’t only success on the field but he also managed to launch his official brand and apparel line, ThrowUpTheX, which refers to his touchdown celebration. Bryant also managed to stay out of much trouble off the field. The season after the overturned “catch,” Dez Bryant was injured. When he came back, he seemed to have returned without his game. In the nine games he played, he dropped many balls. Bryant only managed to get 401 yards on 31 receptions with only 3 touchdowns.
Before the 2016 season, Bryant was sued by the Texas senate Royce West for damaging a rented house in DeSoto, Texas. The damages totaled to be over $60,000. This off-field incident showed that Bryant hasn’t grown up quite yet.
The Cowboys are almost half way into the season and with a new quarterback. Will Dez Bryant step up as a leader during this transitional time? With Romo still out and Bryant being constantly injured, will Bryant be able to handle the work load? Only time will tell!