IRVING, Texas — After making mistakes during punt returns in consecutive games, Dez Bryant has been removed as the Cowboys’ primary punt returner.
Bryant confirmed the decision Thursday while sitting at his locker.
“I promise you, man, I’m going to get back in their ear,” Bryant said, referring to the coaching staff. “I’m going to get in their ear about that.”
In the final minute of the first quarter last Sunday, Bryant fumbled a punt return near the Cowboys’ 20, picked the ball up and fumbled again. The Giants, who went on to win 29-24, made a field goal on that drive, increasing their lead to 16-0.
Cole Beasley and Dwayne Harris took over punt return duties after that but Bryant was back deep for the final Giants punt of the game, however, he did not get to return it because the ball went out of bounds.
A week earlier against the Panthers, Bryant made a risky play on a return inside the Cowboys’ 20. The play resulted in a 3-yard loss, but it could’ve been much worse considering the way Bryant was carrying the ball away from his body.
“I just have to control myself. That’s all,” Bryant said. “That’s the biggest thing. I get so excited. I be wanting to make a big play. I’ve just got to control myself. That’s all.”
Is Bryant disappointed with the coaching staff’s decision?
“Nah, I wasn’t disappointed at all,” Bryant said. “I was very understanding. But like I said, I’m going to get back in coach’s ear. I think it will be hard for him to tell me no. I’m going to continue to keep working at it.
“It’s not hard for me to catch a punt. I just need to feel it in and stop looking upfield and think before catching the rock. That should be my first objective, to catch the ball and then go make a play.”
Bryant has returned 12 punts for 66 yards this season. His longest return went for 44 yards. His 5.5-yard average per return ranks 22nd in the NFL among players that have returned at least 10 punts.