Hall of Famer Deion Sanders says he no longer serves as a mentor to Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. But Sanders thinks Bryant needs somebody to lean on.
“He needs help. He needs help,” Sanders said on ESPN Radio in Dallas this morning. “I told the Cowboys from Day 1 that he needs help. Matter of fact, they have a team in place to help him. But you cannot tell a grown man what to do.”
Personally, I look at the story of Bryant getting into it with a mall security guard over allegedly wearing his pants low and wonder why it’s a mall security guard’s place to tell customers how to dress. But Sanders seems to think Bryant was in the wrong.
And Sanders, a former mentor to Bryant, also seems to think that Bryant needs someone in his life to tell him when he’s wrong. But Sanders made clear that that someone won’t be Sanders himself. Sanders and Bryant have had a falling out, apparently stemming from Bryant lying to the NCAA about spending time with Sanders, which Sanders thought reflected badly on him.
“I haven’t spoken to the kid,” Sanders said. “I have no desire to speak to the kid. In regards to me, I can forgive, but I can’t forget. You can’t tarnish the other things that I have going on and the other kids. It’s sort of like I can’t allow something to poison the fruit of many other kids. I can’t do it, so I cut off those ties a long time ago.”
Meanwhile, Calvin Watkins of ESPN reports that Bryant’s camp is hoping he can return to the mall today. It seems a bit odd that an issue that started over a security guard telling someone to pull up his pants has escalated to the point where an NFL player’s “camp” is sitting down with the mall to hammer out an arrangement for Bryant to return.
But Sanders’ comments point to what may be a larger issue with Bryant: He’s a talented player who could use some guidance. That guidance isn’t coming from Sanders, and as long as the lockout lasts, it can’t come from the Cowboys, either.
UPDATE: Bryant told ESPN he suspects Sanders’ real problem with him has to do with Bryant not endorsing Under Armour.
“I never knew the reason for Deion not saying anything to me,” Bryant said. “The only thing I can believe is that when I stopped talking to Under Armour, Deion stopped talking to me. I never knew what Prime’s problem was. That’s my decision. That has nothing to do with Prime. That made me feel he must be getting something from Under Armour.”