Taking on a leadership role, Dez Bryant says: 'There's no backwards for me'

BY foxsports • July 24, 2013

OXNARD, Calif. – Dez Bryant attributes his breakout second-half last season to being comfortable on and off the field.

Bryant totaled 10 touchdowns and 879 receiving yards during the final eight games of the season. That included two games of 145 yards receiving and another at 224 yards.

The 24-year-old Dallas Cowboys wide receiver said he started becoming comfortable midway through last season and it carried over into the off-season.

"I felt like when all that stuff was over with the incident with my mom, I felt like everything was on the right path," Bryant said after Tuesday's practice. "If you don't have nothing to worry about or focus on, you're going to do good if you got your mind set on something."

Clearly Bryant has his mind set on being one of the NFL's best wide receivers. He never seems to get tired on the field and his highlight grabs against some very good defensive backs have been a regular occurrence during the first three days of training camp.

But he also appears to desire taking on a leadership role entering his fourth season with the Cowboys.

"I think there's no backwards for me," said Bryant, who spoke with media members for roughly 13 minutes. "I feel like I got that role here to lead by example, doing all the right things and me being in that role to make sure these guys are doing the right thing, not only on the field but off the field. I take that to heart.

"I'm doing everything that I'm supposed to and it's like, it don't feel like, 'Hey, I'm structured, I gotta do this.' I'm doing it out of my own heart. This is the type of guy I am. I'm not a bad guy."

Even at times when Bryant was struggling to put everything together on the field during his first two seasons in the league, he always showed passion for the game. His love has never been questioned and it has been a point of emphasis nearly every time Cowboys coach Jason Garrett discusses the team's top receiver.

Garrett constantly preaches that he wants passion, emotion and enthusiasm from his players. Bryant has routinely showed all three, a good combination to go along with his exceptional athletic ability.

"You've got to love this game to be great," Bryant said. "Truth be told, I love this game so much. Even if we weren't getting paid, I'd still probably be out in a set of football pads. That's what I love to do. You've got to have a strong passion to be great. You can't come out here and goof off and then expect to be good."

Follow Jon Machota on Twitter: @jonmachota

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