Witten: Teammates don’t take Bryant’s absence personally

Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was absent from the first day of the Cowboys’ off-season program on April 28. However, tight end Jason Witten doesn’t hold it against Bryant at all, and neither do his teammates.

"I think everybody understands the business side of that," Witten said Sunday at the Citi Jason Witten Football ProCamp. And he doesn’t want it to be personal. He wants to play catch, throwing, working out, and running."

The Cowboys placed the franchise tag on Bryant March 2 after failing to come to terms for an extension by the start of free agency. Dallas was close to re-signing Bryant to an extension in late October of 2014 until Bryant fired his agent, Eugene Parker, and joined Roc Nation and CAA.

Witten knows the 26-year-old loves football, but that the receiver entering his sixth season has to adhere to the business side of the sport.

"You would love to have Dez out there," said Witten. "Dez loves playing ball. I mean, he’s a great teammate. You miss when he’s out there just because of the energy and the passion he brings. He’s a tone-setter.

"It’s Dez. He’ll be there. He’s taking care of himself. He’ll be ready. Just part of the business. Hopefully, it gets worked out. If there’s one guy that’s going to be ready, it’s going to be Dez Bryant."

For the Jones front office, deadlines make deals. Dallas does not have to pay for Bryant’s $12.8 million franchise tag until July 15. An extension would have to be done before that date to insure over $12 million isn’t taken directly out of the club’s 2015 salary cap.