Dez Bryant has 3.49 million Twitter followers, which ranks him fourth among active NFL players behind Russell Wilson, J.J. Watt and Aaron Rodgers. But while Wilson, Watt and Rodgers all began training camp with their teams this week, Bryant, cut by the Cowboys in April, is still without a team.
Those idle hands found an activity to take up a nice chunk of Friday evening.
After Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones mentioned Bryant in an interview — the question was about Dak Prescott, and Jones’s answer was hardly a dig at Bryant, but it was stripped of context and looked a bit worse as a tweet — the wide receiver went off. He sent more than 45 tweets or retweets in roughly 90 minutes, including one in which he both defended Jones at the expense of his father, owner Jerry Jones, and called former teammate Sean Lee a “snake.”
Halfway through Bryant’s Friday night Twitter unburdening, the whole thing became a sort of self-aware performance piece, as Bryant even began retweeting comments about his own tweeting.
It all started when Sirius XM tweeted part of Jones’s quote about how Prescott could be more comfortable in 2018 now that Bryant is no longer in his ear. That tweet has since been deleted, perhaps because it didn’t accurately reflect the full breadth of Jones’s comments. (An extended version of the quote: “I think he’s got to trust the system, which I think at times last year, there was pressure with Dez in his ear, to some degree, Jason [Witten] in his ear. Those great players want balls.”)
Bryant responded by calling himself a scapegoat and blaming the Cowboys’ play-calling. “Everybody lined up in the same spot for 17 weeks,” he said. Fans came to his defense, which Bryant was pleased to promote.
Then came a series of negative tweets that Bryant countered with various thoughts. When several users questioned why he was wasting his energy responding, Bryant repeatedly expressed that he’s happy with his life and he isn’t stuck living in the past.
When someone mentioned Bryant’s use of the word “snake” to describe Lee, a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker, the wideout elaborated.
At one point, Bryant said “Last thing …” and then paid respect to former Cowboys teammates Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams. It was not the last thing. Far from it. He told a critical Dallas media member to “shut up” and reiterated several times that he’s “not angry,” “not mad, nor bitter.”
Shortly before engaging with half the football-watching world, Bryant was the subject of more promising news. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Friday that the Browns and Bryant were preparing to schedule a meeting that could pave the way for the eight-year veteran to join an overhauled offense in Cleveland.
Will his Twitter barrage scare off a team such as the Browns? Former player and current broadcaster Ross Tucker brought up that possibility, and as you can probably guess by now, Bryant responded.
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