Cowboys coach compares Bryant's leadership to Irvin
JUN 03, 2014 11:18a ET
IRVING, Texas -- Jason Garrett says if Dez Bryant is bothered about getting a long-term contract extension done before the start of the 2014 season, he's not showing it.
The Dallas Cowboys head coach uncharacteristically shared a story and spoke at length Monday when the topic turned to Bryant's professionalism.
During Garrett's two-minute answer, he explained how Bryant showed his leadership by choosing to catch passes off a JUGS machine during a recent OTA special teams period.
"He's over there by himself with a couple of managers, hammering footballs at him, catching balls," Garrett said. "I told our film guy, 'Film that.' I showed our team that in the team meeting, because Dez Bryant arguably has the best hands I've ever seen. Players on our team feel the same way. He's just such a natural, a natural catching the football. I tried to make the point to our team that you're really not a natural catching the football, Dez just catches more balls than anybody else. He's worn my arm out, he's worn the managers' arms out, the quarterbacks' arms out.
"He loves the game. He has a great passion for the game. Contract aside, he's not worried about that. He's trying to get himself to be the best player he can be to help our team be the best it can be."
Bryant is entering the final year of his rookie contract. He's due to make $1.78 million in base salary this season. But when asked multiple questions Monday about a long-term deal, Bryant continued to say that he's going to leave it up to his agent.
"I'm not just talking, I really do let that stuff take care of itself, because I care about this game," Bryant said. "I'm not going to be out here, sitting out and doing all that crazy stuff. I'm just going to play football. If it's deserved, it will come."
Garrett played eight seasons with Michael Irvin in Dallas. He said Monday that Bryant shares some of the same leadership qualities as the Hall of Fame wide receiver.
"Michael Irvin set the pace and the tempo for our team all throughout the '90s," Garrett said. "He worked harder than anybody else. And Dez Bryant has a lot of those same traits.
"He just does it the right way. He wants to play the game at a very high level. Any contract concerns don't show up on the practice field."
To compare, Bryant has 293 receptions for 4,104 yards and 40 touchdowns through 59 career games. Irvin had 223 receptions for 4,025 yards and 25 touchdowns through his first 59 games.