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Dez Bryant's Maturity As A Man Is Reflected In His Contract Language

The money is impressive and it is a nice feeling to have #88 locked up for the prime years of his career, but the lack of any conduct restrictions or sanctions in the deal speaks volumes about how Bryant has matured during his time in Dallas.

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys took a gamble on Dez Bryant when they made him their first-round selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. Bryant obviously had the physical tools to play receiver at the highest level, but he came to the Metroplex with some excess baggage. For reasons that we will not rehash here, many 'experts' were waiting to see the troubled young man crash and burn.

Dez did in fact experience many challenging situations during the early years of his professional career. There was the baggy pants incident at NorthPark Center where Bryant was asked to leave due to his manner of dress. There were also instances where he failed to meet his financial obligations to creditors. These are issues that man young men of his age experience, but because he is a high profile athlete they drew much more attention than would similar incidents involving the average twenty-something. The doubters pointed to these mistakes as 'proof' that Dez was doomed to failure.

The pinnacle of issues came with the physical altercation between Bryant and his mother in the summer of 2012. Again, due to his high profile, the family's dirty laundry was aired on the front page of sports sections all over America. The naysayers were more than ever convinced that Bryant would forever be a problem child. He had finally been arrested and it was for 'beating' a woman, his own mother no less. He was tainted for ever according to some. The whole story showed something different.

The Dallas Cowboys do not paint one of their top players with the same brush that many of the so called 'experts' do. The entire organization, from Jerry Jones on down, have been consistent in their support for Dez. They admit that many mistakes were made, and much guidence was offered and accepted in the early days. Accountability to the team has always been there, and while Bryant has made mistakes, he has learned from them and he is developing into someone that Cowboys fans can be as proud of off the field as we are on it. Dez does not make the same mistake twice.

"His awareness, his accountability, his pride and his responsibility to his teammates and to his coaches, I saw that get better every year. As much as anything, he's very aware that he's in the spotlight and certainly would be the first to tell you that every time he's made a decision, it hasn't been necessarily been exactly the right one, but the second time around he'll improve on it. I know that sounds a little mouthful, but he has gotten better every year, and you've got every reason to think at his age, which he's young, that he'll continue to get better and better and better on and off the field. And I'm very proud of him." - Jerry Jones

Lost in the numbers associated in the new contract that the team and its star wide receiver just agreed to is something, or rather the lack of something, that speaks volumes about the level of maturity that Dez Bryant has reached. The league mandated clauses are the only restrictions that have been included in his new contract. With Bryant's somewhat troubled past, it would be easy for there to be some escape clauses or leverage built in to the agreement to help keep Bryant in line, but none were added.

During his post game conference, Jones repeatedly stressed how proud he was of Dez and his progress as a football player and his maturity as a man. He specifically went out of his way to stress that the Dallas Cowboys felt no special need to add any language about conduct away from the playing field. The league's required language will more than sufficiently offset any concerns that the front office may have. Jerry does not need anything more and he made that clear in his statement.

"As you know, the league has been addressing conduct policy significantly over the last 18 months. Consequently, we put into any new contracts the things that the league wants in the contract relative to conduct, and Dez has the same thing in his that other veterans we recently signed."

Throughout the tenure of his initial contract I have often repeated that Dez Bryant might have experienced a difficult start, but by the time his career is over I suspect that we will be as proud of the man he became as we are of the numbers he produced. It is nice to see that the Jones family has that same confidence in Bryant.

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