Rosenthal posted an item earlier today regarding receiver Dez Bryant’s recent comments to the Associated Press. Rosenthal seemed to like Bryant’s bravado.
Bryant could very well end up being a phenomenal NFL player. But if he flames out, the warning signs were present.
It started with the decision to lie to NCAA investigators regarding his relationship with Deion Sanders. And it was magnified by the report — not rumor, as the AP now tries to describe it — from Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports regarding multiple instances of tardiness for various activities, including games.
Bryant put his credibility firmly on the line when he responded to the report by claiming he’s never been late for anything. Any team that is able to confirm Cole’s report with a phone call to an Oklahoma State assistant coach, teammate, or roommate should think seriously about taking Bryant off the board, because it will mean that Bryant cannot be trusted, ever.
More recently, Bryant blew his chance at a buzz-building Pro Day by not bringing his best cleats to the event. And while he scoffs at our report that he forgot to bring cleats at all by pointing out he brought six pairs but didn’t bring the best ones, does he really think that his explanation makes the situation any better?
Bryant forgot to bring the shoes he wanted to wear. The fact that he brought a bunch of other shoes makes him look even more scatterbrained and disorganized.
His response? “What do this got
to do with me playing football? Even if I did forget my cleats,
what do that have to do with me playing football? I don’t think
it has anything to do with me playing football.”
Technically, it doesn’t have anything to do with playing football. But the kind of character flaw that makes a guy tell a lie whenever he thinks the truth would hurt his interests and the kind of knuckleheadedness that makes a guy show up late (allegedly) or forget to bring his best shoes for the biggest 40-yard dash of his life will manifest itself in other ways.
Plaxico Burress was constantly late for stuff. And he eventually blew a hole through his leg and landed in jail for 20 months.
Burress wasn’t a criminal. But he did something criminally stupid. And Bryant is supplying the football-following world with evidence to reinforce the time-honored maxim that stupid is as stupid does.
Plenty of stupid guys can play football very well. But stupid guys can also do things that keep them from being available to play football. And it can happen because they slept too late or because they carried a loaded gun into a Manhattan night club or because of one of many other potential reasons in between.
So whoever decides to take a chance on Bryant will have to account for the possibility that he might do something to affect his ability to play football — and they’ll need to be able and willing to spend the money and time necessary to protect Bryant from himself.
Our advice to Bryant? Quit trying to explain these events. It’s only making the situation worse.
Better yet, don’t say anything at all until after you’re drafted.