Dez Bryant: I'm doing better at respecting my job
JUN 03, 2014 11:10a ET
IRVING, Texas -- Dez Bryant is entering the prime of his career. He's coming off his first trip to the Pro Bowl and his third consecutive season with at least nine touchdowns.
But there's plenty of room for improvement, the 25-year-old Dallas Cowboys wide receiver said Monday.
How does he plan on taking his game to another level?
"Staying humble and just always leaving room in your head that you can get better," Bryant said. "That's what I believe. I feel like I got a lot to work on."
One of his biggest improvements over the last few seasons has been his route-running. Bryant acknowledged that losing a few pounds in the off-season has helped him even more in that area.
"Feeling lighter," he said. "Flying off the ball. Something I've been working on before OTAs. As of right now, it's been good. I'm anxious to see what it is on the field in a real game."
Bryant said he weighed 218 pounds last season and is down to between 212-214. His increased cardio and core work have also helped his back. Bryant missed practice time last season and in 2010 because of back issues. He needed a wheelchair to get to the team plane after a season-ending loss to Washington in 2012 because of severe back pain.
"I know what I'm doing I'm going to keep doing because it's been helping me," Bryant said. "I haven't been having any back problems. I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing."
If his back problems are a thing of the past, Bryant could be in for career numbers in 2014. After all, Scott Linehan, Dallas' new offensive play-caller, has never been conservative about throwing the football.
"I think he's a great player," Linehan said Monday. "I've always thought that, just going against him from the other sideline. He's just got some really special qualities and some really elite-type traits that give him the ability to be a dominant player. It's just going to be really fun to work with him.
His effort on the field, in the film room and in the weight room have helped Bryant consistently improve. His play has also benefited from him staying out of trouble off the field. Bryant said all of that is part of his maturation as a player.
Now, he's in a position to set an example for younger teammates.
Bryant said his message to them is to "love and respect the job you do."
"If you do that, you're going to dominate," he said. "I love my job. I'm doing a better job of respecting it."