Dez Bryant Is Not A Hater


Arms up and waving.

He was ranting.

He was raving.

It came with 3:02 left in the third quarter. Dallas quarterback Tony Romo had just thrown a third down incompletion to Dwayne Harris. As a result, the Cowboys had to settle for a field goal instead of a touchdown.

Romo missed Harris with three defenders around him. It appeared Bryant was open to the right of Harris. It probably would have been a touchdown had Romo gotten him the ball.

If you just saw the caught-on-video scene and couldn't hear Bryant's animated exchange with Romo on the sideline, you would have assumed it was another drama queen wide receiver going off on his quarterback.


It was passion, not hate.

Bryant is just of those guys, wired differently than most of us. He wears his love for the game and winning on his sleeve. And there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, fans should love the part of the game where winning matters to a player. Especially when too often, you get the feeling some don't care about anything other than the team cutting a check.

Not Bryant.

"My passion is a positive," he said in the post-game press conference, after scoring two TDs in the Cowboys' shocking last-second 31-30 loss to the Detroit Lions Sunday. "It's always positive. It's always going to remain the same. I'm not saying anything wrong. I'm not saying anything bad. That's just what it is."

Bryant's teammates, coaches, and even owner Jerry Jones were all behind the 24-year-old superstar receiver. "He's never complained to me about getting the ball," said Romo, speaking to journalists after a game where he threw three TDs. "He knows the ball's going where it's supposed to. He knows that. When you guys [the media] sometimes see emotions from Dez, it's just trying to 'rah, rah' more than it is being a “me” guy. That's not who Dez is."

This game billed two of the best receivers in the league. Coming in, Bryant and Calvin Johnson both had six touchdowns. Most wanted to see the two on the same field. But this turned into a blowout. Bryant had more action on the sideline than the field, having just three catches for 72 yards.  But Johnson recorded the second-most yards in a game with 329 on 14 receptions. "This is a team sport," said Bryant, who had two TDs to Johnson's one. "He had a hell of a game. He did some great stuff out there. Outstanding, seriously."

This comes after a big flap all week leading up to the game when some thought Bryant said he can do whatever Johnson can. Some took it like he said he’s a better receiver than Johnson. But Lions' veteran injured receiver, Nate Burleson, took exception. "Listen, I like Dez," Burleson said via the Lions' official website. "I think he's one of the best receivers in the game right now. Very talented. Fast, big, strong. He possesses all the tools to possibly be as good as Calvin. But he's not Calvin Johnson. No way, no how. Sorry, Dez. Keep it real."

Bryant replied, saying he never said he was the best receiver in the league. "I think a lot of people took it the wrong way," he said. "Clearly, I said there was no comparison."

You can respect that, though. When you're this talented, it's hard to admit anyone is better. "Me and him talked before the game," Bryant said. "Had a great conversion. Wished each other the best of luck. That's what it was."

But Bryant wasn't without highlights. He made an incredible one-handed TD, giving the Cowboys a 10-7 halftime lead. But still, in the end, he wasn't happy because the Cowboys settled for more threes than sevens, something that brought out Bryant’s passion. "In order to win, you've got to be passionate about the game,” he said. “You have to be. You've got to let that dog come out and just put it out there on the line."

Dallas TE, Jason Witten, understand Dez's approach. "He's emotional,” he said. “The guy loves to play, loves to win."

Hard to argue with that.


Rob Parker is a columnist for The Shadow League. He is also an analyst for Fox Sports 1 in Los Angeles. He co-hosts The Odd Couple on Fox Sports Radio and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.