The NFL season opener is barely a week away, and yet Dez Bryant says he is content with the possibility of not playing until “a lil bit later in the year.”
The wide receiver, a first-round draft pick by the Dallas Cowboys in 2010, was cut by the team in April. Although a number of teams could use help at the position, there have been no takers for a free agent who has caught 531 passes for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns over his career. Bryant has at times been critical of the Cowboys since becoming a free agent, and he hinted at his lingering animosity in a tweet Monday night, while insisting that he can still play the game.
“I just have to take care of me first….gave [too] much love and not received at least half back,” he wrote. “I will play ball this year just might be a lil bit later in the year. [W]e will see.”
Bryant, who turns 30 in November, went on to add, “I want to be right … that’s my focus right now … life is great over here.”
Bryant turned down a three-year offer from Baltimore in the spring, preferring to try to land a one-year deal that could bring a big payday if he proves himself in 2018. That hasn’t happened, although other teams, including the Cleveland Browns and New England Patriots, have kicked the tires on Bryant. For now, both teams are content to bide their time.
The Browns have Josh Gordon back, although he isn’t expected to start in their season opener, and Cleveland sent a message after Bryant’s visit that the team’s interests are more important than his.
“[T]hings will unfold as they will,” Coach Hue Jackson told reporters Aug. 20. “The most important thing we know is that Josh is here, and again, we’ve had a good conversation with Dez and until he’s a Cleveland Brown, I can only worry about the guys that are on this football team.”
With that, Jackson sounded a lot like Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Patriots, who will lose Julian Edelman to a four-game suspension starting next week, have tried a number of options at receiver, but Eric Decker, Kenny Britt, Jordan Matthews and Malcolm Mitchell were all poor fits.
“Certain things haven’t worked out the way we would have hoped and players would have hoped, but that’s football,” Brady told WEEI on Monday.
And Brady wasn’t about to divulge his thoughts about Bryant, who, according to ESPN, was spotted in New England earlier this month.
“I don’t make those decisions for our team. I don’t go in there and tell them who I want,” Brady said. “My job is to play quarterback and whoever’s here, that’s who I have to make it work with.”
With Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson expected to make New England’s 53-man roster, Riley McCarron, Braxton Berrios, Devin Lucien and Paul Turner are seemingly battling for the final spot, unless the team brings in someone else. Belichick — not a spoiler alert! — isn’t tipping his hand.
“Look, our entire team, we all have a lot of work to do,” the New England coach said Monday. “We all have a lot to prove at every position. None of us have done anything this year in the 2018 season. I think we’re all in the same boat on that one — coaches, players, whatever position you want to look at. We all have a long way to go and we’ll see where we get to.”
Sounds a little like Dez Bryant.
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