Jerry Jones is willing to stand by Dez Bryant — for now.
But the Cowboys owner is also making it clear that Bryant’s running out of chances.
“If Dez doesn’t have football, it’s a personal tragedy for him. He knows that’s at stake,” Jones told FoxSports.com’s Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “I’m sure he knows there’s a plane ticket waiting for him if he doesn’t understand that. Without trying to be cute, this is a serious matter.”
Jones is walking a fine line here, because he’s quick to acknowledge his teams have taken their share of chances on players with equivalent if different off-field problems than Bryant, who was recently arrested on domestic violence charges after an incident with his mother.
“Games aren’t won with Sunday school teachers,” Jones said.
Whether it was Pacman Jones or Terrell Owens, he’s always been a safe harbor for problem children. But with this case, the accumulated evidence against Bryant was enough that Jones wouldn’t talk to him at first before relenting and giving him conditional support.
But part of that was demanding changes, with Jones insisting on “lifestyle adjustments.”
At the same time, Jones is trying to reach him with a personal element, trying to get through to the talented wideout that what was once OK simply isn’t any longer.
Jones told Bryant he grew up at a time: “when adults could sit at a drive-in and have a liquor bottle on the side of the car and a drink sitting right there and police all around. You could drive and drink. Society said, ‘That’s no good. We’re doing away with that.’ I agree with that, by the way. People don’t do that anymore. If you do it, you’ll find you can’t work at corporations [or] teach.
“There are a lot of things that used to happen in behavior in the NFL that we don’t want players to do. At one time it was OK. It’s not OK anymore. You’ve got to get that. I don’t care how you grew up or what was done around you. Times change. That’s what I mean by changing surroundings. We’re not talking about my beliefs but as it pertains to Dez, a player or, frankly, an owner. You’ve got to adhere to a certain behavior pattern or you’re not going to be in the NFL.”
The talent Bryant has displayed thus far makes it clear why the Cowboys are willing to work with him.
But when a team that’s given so many chances to others in the past finally draws a line in the sand, Bryant would be wise not to cross.