Dez Bryant might be listed as the punt returner on the Cowboys depth chart, but that doesn’t mean Bryant will necessarily return every punt Wednesday night against the New York Giants.
Bryant will be the team’s punt returner when the field position presents an opportunity for him to make a play.
“We’ll let that [depend] on the situation in the game,” Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 [KRLD-FM] The Fan’s New School show. “That’s usually the way we’ve done it with him. You want to give him an opportunity to have one in the situation that will allow him for a return, not just downing the ball. So, we’ll look at the times in the game and see when that happens.”
When asked in June about the possibility of returning punts during the 2012 season, Bryant was open to the opportunity.
“I love to compete,” Bryant said. “Wherever coach needs me, I’m going to be there. I feel like that’s my job to do the best that I can and do as much as possible. I just love making plays when I’m given the chance.”
Bryant, who suffered a thigh bruise during a punt return in last season’s Week 1 game against the New York Jets, returned to practice Saturday after being sidelined 11 days with patellar tendinitis in his right knee.
But when Jones was asked if Bryant and teammate Miles Austin, who has missed most of the preseason with a strained hamstring, are 100 percent, he replied, “Yes, they are.”
Bryant scored two touchdowns and made no fair catches during 15 punt returns in 2010. He had 15 opportunities last season, scoring no touchdowns and calling five fair catches. His average also declined from 14.3 yards his rookie season to 6.9 in 2011.