One of the stories making the rounds in the last 24 hours is the "generosity" of Dez Bryant. By now, you've probably read about Dez footing a $55,000 dinner bill at a steakhouse. That bill came courtesy (allegedly) of fellow receiver Roy Williams, who famously had to carry his own pads one day when Dez refused to do it. Turns out, instead of physical labor rendered for free, Dez likes to show his love through cold hard cash spent. His list of gifts include Air Jordan 7's for the WRs, Madden 11 for Roy and dog tags for his OK State wide receivers. Plus, you got to love this tweet:
"I'm here eating drinking with my dogs I go to war with every Sunday doing it big at pappas steakhouse!!!!" Bryant wrote on his Twitter.
So let's take this out of the realm of juicy gossip, and into semi-cold-hard-facts football territory. Despite the fascination with ShoulderPadGate, Dez Bryant's supposed character issues are nowhere to be found in Dallas. Think back to the draft earlier this year. I know I was thinking "No way will we even get close to Dez in the first round." When we actually got him, I was stunned, and elated. The character issues scared away a lot of potential suitors who are probably starting to regret that decision already. Why?
Because Dez Bryant looks like the real deal. And in a few years, should be the real deal.
So far this year, he hasn't had a breakout game as a receiver, but you can sense that day is just over the horizon. For months, my constant refrain about Dez has been "great hands and YAC". Much has been made about Bryant's enormous hands, but those are of no use if you can't actually use them to catch a pass. So far, Bryant catches everything thrown his way. The sideline catch against Houston was All-Pro caliber, and earlier this season he made a very difficult catch on a slant pattern look routine. It's a testament to his ability, and Roy's early-season turnaround, that Miles Austin is the guy who has the dropsies so far in 2010. His 14 catches are second in the league among rookies. Great Hands.
On Sunday, Bryant's effort to get the first down on the Cowboys long TD drive was a peek into what's to come. YAC. You can throw in his 62-yard punt return for a TD into the yards after catch column, too. Get him the ball into space, kick back and watch. And it wasn't just the moves on the first-down conversion, it was the strength to break tackles.
Wide receivers are usually one of the positions that takes the longest for a rookie to make his mark. Dez Bryant is already paying off for the Cowboys, on the field, and apparently for all the Cowboys players at that steakhouse, off the field, too.