ARLINGTON, Texas – Dez Bryant says he has a different mindset entering his fourth NFL season. The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver now looks at himself as a veteran.
“There’s no more games, no more wondering,” Bryant said Wednesday while participating with Cowboys teammates and head coach Jason Garrett in the Reliant Home Run Derby at Rangers Ballpark. “I know what I’m doing. I got to come in and do what I did at the end of last year. And I hope to build on that.”
Bryant was referring to the final eight games of the season when he caught 72 passes for 879 yards and 10 touchdowns. That strong finish allowed the 24-year-old to continue to steadily improve statistically over each of his three years in the league.
The former first-round pick appeared in all 16 games despite battling multiple injuries in 2012. Bryant fractured his left index finger in a Dec. 9 victory over Cincinnati. The injury required surgery but Bryant played through it, choosing to wear a specialized splint and glove.
“It’s never going to be normal, but I promise it’s never going to be an issue,” Bryant said Wednesday. “I’m ready to go. I’ve been catching footballs and I actually feel like I’ve been catching better, so I’m ready to go.”
In the final game of the season, Bryant suffered a lower back injury during the fourth quarter. Bryant was in so much pain that he couldn’t stand on his own. Asked about the back injury Wednesday, Bryant admitted that it took him a little longer than expected to fully recover.
“But the back is not an issue now,” he said. “It’s all about getting into OTAs and trying to help out all of the younger guys, make sure everybody is on the same page, and ready to go for this 2013 season.”
Two of the younger guys Bryant was likely referring to are 2013 draft picks Terrance Williams and Joseph Randle. Bryant spoke highly of both, mentioning that he expects Williams, a wide receiver out of Baylor, and Randle, a running back out of Oklahoma State, to do “big things” while wearing Dallas Cowboys uniforms.