Dez Bryant wants to make it perfectly clear: He is a team player who wants nothing except to win.
The Cowboys’ fourth-year receiver insists his sideline demonstrations Sunday had nothing to do with quarterback Tony Romo targeting him only six times. It had nothing to do with the Lions’ Calvin Johnson having the second-biggest receiving-yardage day in NFL history either.
Bryant said it had everything to do with the Cowboys enduring another frustrating loss, failing to finish in a gut-wrenching 31-30 defeat by the Lions.
Bryant talked for some 15 minutes Monday, explaining his sideline behavior that drew national attention, criticism and debate. He said he is misunderstood outside the locker room.
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“This is a team game, and I think everybody in this locker room knows where my mind and my heart is,” said Bryant, who had three catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns. “It’s all about winning. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s about. The reality is we’re 4-4, and it feels like we’re better than that.”
The Cowboys have defended Bryant, repeatedly referring to Bryant’s passion and his will to win. But coach Jason Garrett did talk with Bryant after the game, explaining to Bryant that he needs to better use his emotion and enthusiasm.
“Dez is as well-liked a guy on our football team by his teammates and by the coaching staff,” Garrett said. “He’s very passionate about the game. He loves football. He loves his football team, and he wants to win. One of the things he has to learn is to channel all that positive stuff — all that positive emotion. He has to channel it and focus it to the task at hand.”
TV cameras twice caught sideline rants by Bryant.
In the third quarter, Bryant appeared to express his displeasure at Romo. Bryant said he was not demanding the ball, though he had only two catches for 22 yards to that point.
Then, after the Lions scored the go-ahead touchdown with 12 seconds to go, Bryant had a heated exchange with tight end Jason Witten. Defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who was inactive, stepped in between the two and attempted to calm Bryant.
Bryant asserted that he loves Witten and Romo like brothers.
Bryant said he has no regrets about his sideline rants, insisting he will continue to wear his emotions on the sleeves of his No. 88 jersey.
“No regrets,” he said. “It’s all love. Like I said, I know it looks crazy, but I promise you all it’s not.”
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