IRVING, Texas — For all that has been written and said about Dez Bryant as far as his focus, maturity and mindset over the past few seasons, the Dallas Cowboys star receiver is definitely at ease heading into Sunday’s 2013 season opener with the New York Giants.
The former Oklahoma State star is definitely more comfortable when it comes to addressing the leering press over at Valley Ranch. In fact, when asked about former Cowboy receiver Michael Irvin saying he would be the NFL’s MVP in 2013, he took such heady praise from a Pro Football Hall of Famer in humble fashion.
“It always means a lot when Michael Irvin’s saying something good about me because of the history of the number. I look at it as a great challenge to try to fill the shoes of Drew [Pearson] and Mike. There’s no pressure. I’m just having fun,” Bryant said after practice on Thursday.
The man who currently wears No. 88 also addressed any MVP talk in tongue in cheek fashion, responding in truly witty fashion when one reporter asked him what he needed to do to make good on Irvin’s prediction.
Bryant wittily responded that he should be a quarterback, a retort that drew a nice response from the media assembled around his locker stall. He heads into this season after a 2012 campaign where he posted some pretty impressive numbers.
His 1,382 receiving yards is the fourth-best single-season total in Cowboys history, his 92 receptions a career high and his 12 touchdown catches ties him for the fifth most in franchise history.
In short, the Lukfin native has already started delivering on his immense potential, which is exactly why Dallas took him 27th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. Sure, there were a few bumps in the road early on but those who knew him closest knew he would come through all that adversity a stronger person first and a better football player second.
But if there is one thing about Bryant that really seems to be apparent now it’s that he is definitely enjoying the game again. That’s not to say that the talented wideout wasn’t enjoying it before, but it was clear, whether it was during his exchanges with the media earlier in his time with the ‘Boys that he was obviously uncomfortable talking to the press and would clearly rather be doing anything other than discussing his off-field missteps.
However, he is now embracing that aspect of being an NFL player and realizes that talking to the media is all part of being a good pro. Sure, there are more than likely still days when he might not feel like talking and days when he’s more forthcoming and straightforward in his answers than others, but to see him holding court in front of his stall and doing so with a smile on his face and bearing the facial expression of someone who doesn’t seem to mind all the attention one single bit is definitely great to see.