Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant needs to find identity


He is one of the most hyped players of all-time. He is a great pass-catcher. He has terrific speed. If he plays the game the right way, he could be in the Hall of Fame.

These words all correlate with Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant. He had the speed, quickness, catching ability, and strength to become a great player in the NFL.

This phrase also correlates with Bryant: Off-the-field issues. Bryant was recently arrested for assaulting his mother on June 16th.

The Oklahoma State wideout’s only issues on draft day were how he handled personal issues. In fact, the top 10 talent slipped to the 24th overall pick in the 2010 draft because teams were not willing to take a chance on him.

In the last two years his performance on the field has shown improvement. He recorded 921 yards receiving with 9 touchdowns last season. Those stats are much better than his rookie total of 521 receiving yards and 6 touchdowns.

Despite his improvements on the field, Bryant has still had trouble with his emotions and maturity. Unpaid debts, fines from team violations, tardiness at team meetings, and incidents at nightclubs are all part of the name he has built for himself in the NFL.

With this recent arrest many people are beginning to wonder: Is Dez Bryant becoming the next Terrell Owens? Owens was known not only for his hilarious touchdown celebrations on the field but also angry tirades with his quarterbacks and other players.

While Owens went on to break several records in the NFL, many wonder if he deserves a place in the Hall of Fame because of his many personal issues.

After the league’s experience of players like Owens and Chad Ochocinco, NFL teams and Commissioner Goodell have little to no patience for these types of characters.

Bryant has two things going his way. Firstly, the Dallas Cowboys understand what kind of player they have drafted. They know there will be highs and there will be lows with Dez Bryant and they are committed to helping him.

Secondly, there are players in the league who have been on the path he has been on and are willing to help him. Two players come to mind that fit the words used to describe Dez Bryant at the beginning of this article.

San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis is the next generation version of the NFL tight end position. He has everything that you want from a receiving tight end. He also suffered from issues that affected him off-the-field.

The change began when he was benched in 2008 by head coach Mike Singletary. Singletary’s now famous “I Want Winners” speech not only motivated Davis, but gave him an identity. Winners don’t just win on the field. They win in every aspect of their lives.

This transformation came to head when he made the game-winning touchdown catch against the New Orleans Saints in the NFC Divisional game. Davis will tell you that came from taking his emotion and turning it into something positive.

If the ‘Dallas Cowboy’ in you won’t let you talk to a hated rival team, look to New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham. Graham also had a tough childhood growing up just like Bryant did.

One thing that Jimmy Graham said about his path to the NFL was, “Life is tough, but I’m tougher.” Bryant’s childhood and recent problems with the law does not have to hold him back as long as he makes a commitment to move forward and make the right decisions.

This year is a make or break year for Bryant. Whether he realizes it or not these issues are hindering his ability to become a dominant force on the field. He has guys in his corner, he just has to choose who he wants to be: boom or bust?