From the moment the lockout started, one of the biggest practical consequences became clear. Teams no longer would be able to help players who need it.
The truth is that none of us know the extent to which certain teams assisted certain players, whether via formal counseling or the coach-player relationship or the player development office or some other device. Though plenty of players found plenty of trouble when counseling and other types of communications were available, the team could them assist on the back end. During the lockout, any player who gets into trouble is on his own.
In the case of Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, it’s causing plenty of concern for his team.
“You have to be worried, based on the stuff he’s been through and the history of having done it before, it’s kind of a pattern with him,” a team source told Albert Breer of NFL Network. “It’s not being able to take care of the things that you’d expect the normal 22 year old to be able to handle. Sometimes, it’s the simplest things. And a lot of it is not his fault, it’s because of the way he was brought up. He’s got a good heart, and the best intentions, but all this stuff happens and it takes away from that.”
But Bryant by no means has no one to help him. He has an agent, Eugene Parker, and an “advisor,” David Wells. During Thursday’s PFT Live, I took aim at Wells, questioning his role (or lack thereof) in truly advising Dez Bryant. Instead, Wells went on radio this week to tell the world that Dez is in a “dark place.”
So how in the hell does it help Dez for Wells to say that publicly? Wells instead should be focused on getting his client out of that “dark place.”
And where’s Parker in all of this? To our knowledge, he hasn’t said a word about Bryant’s predicament. Though it’s possible that Parker quietly is working behind the scenes to help his client, there’s no evidence that it’s happening — and no proof that it’s working.
Despite Dez’s upbringing and circumstances and maturity level, he’s 22. It’s time to stand up and take control of his life. He has achieved things athletically that few can. It’s time for him to do what most normal adults have done, and start acting like one.
The first step should be to sever ties with anyone should have been helping him as he piled up hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. The second step should be to find people who will help him settle up those debts and otherwise get himself pointed in the right direction.
We admired how hard he played as a rookie, even when the Cowboys were struggling, and he has a bright future. But the time has come to grow up — and he’d benefit from having some people in his life who would tell him that.
Until the lockout ends, the Cowboys can’t.