Upon his release Friday, receiver Dez Bryant took a not-so-veiled shot at some of the Dallas Cowboys, calling out “Garrett guys” and team captains.
One of the six captains last season happens to be his former quarterback, Dak Prescott, who denied that he had anything to do with the surprise release of the wide receiver and called him “my brother.”
“I’m in my second year so, as much as you want to say, ‘I want a say and this and that,’ those guys get paid a lot more than me,” he said (via the Morning News) of Cowboys management, “and that’s what those guys are there to do. That’s not my decision.”
Nor did Prescott say he had gotten a warning about the move, which came after Bryant, the Cowboys’ all-time leader in touchdown catches, met with owner Jerry Jones.
“Obviously, it’s sad news,” he said. “That’s a brother to me. Put the football stuff behind you. What he meant to me as a person, what he meant to me as a brother, it’s tough to see him go. It shows you, I mean, it’s a business. It motivates me, honestly. It motivates me and puts all this in perspective.”
On Friday afternoon, Bryant had taken to Twitter to tell “Cowboy nation” that “I need you to know this wasn’t my decision. I will always love y’all … forever Dallas in my heart.”
He went on to add, “if I didn’t have my edge, I got it now. … it’s very personal.” Later Friday, he mentioned “Garrett guys” in an NFL Network interview.
“I’ll say this right here: I believe that ‘Garrett guys’ [are to blame],” he told the network’s Jane Slater, referring to Coach Jason Garrett. Asked whether some teammates played a role in the decision to cut him, he replied, “I would say that.”
Bryant did not offer names.
“I won’t put no names out, but they know, and I want them to know I know,” Bryant said. “I’ll shoot them a text message and let them know. Little do they know is, you know, they can wear that ‘C’ all they want to, but in that locker room … they know who they communicate with. Everybody knows where the real love is at. I’m not throwing anybody under the bus, but that’s the difference between me and them.”
Bryant and Prescott teamed up for 119 receptions, 1,634 yards and 14 touchdowns over two seasons together, but Bryant never had the rapport with Prescott that he enjoyed with Tony Romo. Over two seasons with Prescott, Bryant never topped 850 yards or scored more than eight touchdowns. Still, if Prescott is upset about having the captains called out, he wasn’t showing his hand.
“I’m sure he’s hearing stuff, and I’m sure he’s getting it from a lot of different ways,” Prescott said. “I’m not going to finger-point at anybody. I’m not going to get upset for who he’s pointing at or who he thinks did this.”
Bryant pointed the finger at the players, not the owner.
“Jerry Jones, he loved me to death, and I loved him, too,” he said. “I honestly believe in my heart that this was a hard decision for him. But when it’s five, six guys at a table against one guy, you got to do it. … It was an unfair situation because, if they wanted to get rid of me, they could have told me that. … I would have respected it.”
Bryant, who was set to make $12.5 million in base salary and count $16.5 million against the salary cap, said he would have been willing to take a pay cut, but it didn’t come to that. “The only question I was going to have for that was: Even if I did take a pay cut, am I going to be able to come in to work and be happy? Will I be able to enjoy it? Because I already got a feeling that this person don’t like me, this person don’t like me.”
Now, he’ll move on. As will Prescott and the Cowboys.
“He was a great player,” Prescott said. “He did a lot of great things for us, obviously. He was a guy that man-to-man you’d go to. At this point, we’ve got to figure that out with the guys we got. I’m sure we’re going to go after guys in the draft or free agency. Who knows? All I can do is just continue to get better at my job and do the best I can.”
Bryant expressed interest in coming to an NFC East team because the end of his time in Dallas was “very personal.”
“I’m just tired of being a scapegoat, tired of all of it. I’m a real guy. I’m a real guy, and I just want to prove and I’m going to continue to keep proving that on and off of the field,” he said. “Like I said, when you do wrong to people, nothing good happens on the other end. I don’t care how great it looks on the outside. It’s all about what it is on the inside. … I come from dirt, so I got strong belief and I got strong faith. So it is what it is.”
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