With round one looming and concerns regarding his character still hovering, receiver Dez Bryant has sounded off for a final time as to the perception that any team that drafts him will be taking a major risk.
“It’s crazy how I’m getting ripped up, and I just don’t get it,” Bryant tells Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports. “Before this started, I didn’t know I was such
a ‘bad guy.’ I promise you, I didn’t. When I hear these things — I’m
not a hard worker, I’m not tough, I’m a diva — I look at it like
they’re talking about somebody else, because that’s not me. . . . This is supposed to be a great moment for me. Trust me, it’s not. But I try to stay positive for my mom and my
younger brother and sister. I don’t want to ruin it for them.”
Bryant won’t be at the draft; he wasn’t among the 19 players invited (two declined), and he thinks his absence is related to the concerns. “I’m not in New York because of what’s been said about me, pure and
simple,” Bryant said. “That’s got to be it — and that’s ridiculous,
man. But it’s good; I’m fine. I’m not taking anything away from anyone
in the draft, but I don’t think anybody wants it more than me. When I
get drafted, I’ll hug some people and celebrate for a minute — but then
I’m going to go to work.”
Bryant also said that at least one team asked him a question that crosses the line worse than any question we’ve ever heard. “They asked me if my mom’s a prostitute,” Bryant said. “No, my mom is not a prostitute. I got mad — really mad — but I didn’t show it. I got a
lot of questions like that: Does she still do drugs? I sat and answered
all of them.”
It’s good that he didn’t show his anger (and we respect him for that). Surely, the teams wanted to see how easily he’d get stirred up. And it appears that he handled himself well.
Still, the concerns remain. Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports has reported on a habit of tardiness. Though Bryant claimed he was ever only late to a single meeting, Silver’s report confirms that the reports are true.
“He’s got to have a better regard for time,” Bryant mentor Deion Sanders told Silver. “He needs a Flavor Flav clock around his neck. That’s what he needs.” (Given his experience with the NCAA, Bryant also could have benefited from a Pinocchio nose.)
Though, as we’ve said in the past, Bryant could be an inspiration to kids with tough upbringings, teams remain concerned that he won’t be reliable — especially once he gets paid. And if he ends up being a bust, whoever picked him will be paying the price, possibly with his job.
This reality makes teams like the Bengals and Cowboys more likely to select Bryant; in Cincinnati and Dallas, the guy who makes the picks would be accountable only to himself.