There are 32 NFL head coaches who would love to have Dez Bryant on their team. But taking on Bryant also means dealing with his emotional tides and eddies.
That might not be something every team could take on. Can the Dallas Cowboys handle this sort of drama, considering everything they are going through now?
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With the Cowboys suffering a brutal loss Sunday to the Green Bay Packers, one in which they blew a 26-3 halftime lead, Bryant walked off the field with 1:21 left in the game.
Although he didn't speak to the media after the game, he offered this explanation on Twitter afterward.
I walked back to the locker room because I was emotional...it had nothing to do with my teammates we had it... We fought and didn't finish
— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) December 16, 2013
Granted, Bryant was not a part of those final 81 seconds — that time was spent watching Packers quarterback Matt Flynn kneel down and bleed out the clock after Tony Romo's game-ending interception.
Bryant then spoke Monday morning, according to the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, and said he regretted his actions.
“I was wrong,” Bryant said. “It didn’t have anything to do with my teammates. I just … I couldn’t watch Green Bay kneel the ball down on the field after a tough loss like that.
“I was very emotional. I cried when I got into the locker room. I didn’t want to show that stuff on the sideline.”
Bryant cares deeply about football. That's more than you can say about a lot of players in the NFL, much less superstars at their respective positions. But is he a distraction? Is he worth the trouble he sometimes causes?
The Cowboys have gone out of their way to help Bryant, and to protect him, too. He grew up under tough circumstances, entered the NFL immature and unready for the white-hot spotlight and has had to grow up considerably just to get to where he is now.
Bryant's ability also is unquestioned. He was a star Sunday, making an improbable touchdown grab, one of 11 catches Sunday for 153 yards.
But his emotional waves are also part of his scouting report. They are always something the Cowboys must monitor, even if they mostly are well-intentioned. The question is whether this is the right team for him. With the focus on the Cowboys perhaps as intense, or more so, than on any NFL team, especially with the drama they seem to produce, would it be better for Bryant to play somewhere a little more sedate?
That question is rhetorical. It would take a lot for the Cowboys to let him go elsewhere, and they know deep down that he has a big heart and wants only for the best. His quotes Monday, for instance, came from Cook Children’s Medical Center in Ft. Worth — a stop along the way during the Cowboys' annual visits to area children’s hospitals.
The Cowboys might be a mess right now, steaming toward another disappointing 8-8 type of finish, and Bryant's early exit was not a thing the team should have to answer for. Bryant knows that, and he's now apologized for it.
“Whenever I’m out on the football field, it’s all about the team,” Bryant said. “I’m a team guy and that’s what I think about and that’s what I focus on. I extremely, extremely apologize for leaving, but my teammates and coaches understand. I am a very emotional player and we didn’t finish.”
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