On Sunday, one week after news broke that Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant hired a new agent to the chagrin of owner Jerry Jones, the media company partially owned by Jones reported that DeSoto, Texas police had visited Dez Bryant’s house six times.
“All of these things give the Cowboys cause for concern,” Ian Rapoport of NFL Media proclaimed.
In response to this report, Shan Shariff of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas-Fort Worth personally investigated the situation. For starters, there’s a question as to whether Bryant even lived at the house police visited on each of the six occasions. Next, Shariff found five incidents, not six.
Ultimately, the question becomes whether the five incidents, taken alone or together, should cause real concern for the Cowboys about Bryant. Based on the information obtained by Shariff, it’s clear that each of the issues was a non-issue.
First, an incident of “harassment” occurred on September 4, 2011. Specifically, someone was calling or texting someone else who eventually made good on a vow to call police if the calls or texts didn’t stop. It’s possible Bryant was the person who called the police. Either way, it’s not a big deal.
Second, the fire department was called on September 16, 2011 because a baby was inside a locked car, with the keys inside the car. The report names no names.
Third, a report was made of a stolen vehicle on August 17, 2012. There’s no record of who made the call to police.
Fourth, on June 2, 2012, a burglary at the residence was reported. No mention was made of Dez Bryant.
Fifth, a reference to a “neighborhood patrol” appears on November 24, 2013. There are no details and no indication of any incident taking place. That same day, the Cowboys played the Giants at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, so it’s possible Bryant wasn’t even around.
None of these calls resulted in an arrest or a conviction, of Dez Bryant or anyone. And yet somehow this has been characterized by the media company partially owned by the Cowboys as a negative reflection against Bryant.
“This is a genuine concern,” Rapoport said. “The Cowboys, I am told by multiple sources involved in the situation, do not trust Dez Bryant off the field. They feared — and they have feared for a while — that it will all blow up in his face, that a variety of small incidents will all come back to haunt him.”
He may be right, but the small incidents listed above shouldn’t give anyone concern. While it’s possible there’s other stuff no one knows about, these five incidents don’t reveal much.
The circumstantial evidence suggests that the Cowboys could be trying to squeeze Bryant into taking an offer he isn’t inclined to accept, while at the same time putting a cloud over his marketability elswhere. Bryant, who has shown a high degree of maturity and savvy when faced with the efforts of owner Jerry Jones to persuade Bryant to commit to a 10-year contract that binds the player but not the team, eventually will realize what’s going on.
If/when he does, here’s hoping he tells the Cowboys, “Go ahead and use the franchise tag in 2015 and 2016. I’ll accept the injury risk, pocket $25 million for two years, and force my way to the market in 2017.”