Dez Bryant is entering the final year of his rookie contract, and he's shared some of the cringe-worthy details of the earliest days of that contract.
Bryant signed a five-year deal in 2010 with $8.6 milion guaranteed, and made waves when he declined to carry receiver Roy Williams' shoulder pads, as is rookie custom.
"I'm not doing it," Bryant said at the time. "I feel like I was drafted to play football, not carry another player's pads."
"Every player on that team went through something unpleasant their rookie year, and if you think they're going to let you skate by because you made a few plays in college, I think you're probably wrong," Shutdown Corner's MJD wrote in an open letter to Bryant at the time. "You're probably way better off just carrying some pads and buying some ridiculous meals."
Turns out that's exactly what happened. On Fox Sports 1's "Back of the Shop," Bryant told the story of how he went to dinner with teammates to Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas and got stuck with an enormous bill.
“I paid $55,000 for a dinner, and it struck me the wrong way," he said. "I could’ve easily went off on every last one of them, but I didn’t. I kept myself together, and I wanted to change that. So you know what I did, went out there and did my thing. Now they’re allowing me to call the shots.”
In the wake of the Miami Dolphins locker room scandal, the whole idea of hazing in the NFL has undergone a dramatic shift since Bryant's monstrous bill. And no one can deny that Bryant has "done his thing." As for how much he's changed the culture of the Cowboys' treatment of rookies, well ... that's a question for the rookies, isn't it?
Bryant and his agent have been discussing the possibility of a contract extension, and even despite Bryant's occasional meltdowns, it's likely those conversations will go a long way. And so far, Bryant is saying all the right things.
"I love the game," he said. "I don’t even think about the money until it’s time. A lot of guys aren’t like that. All they care about is the check that will keep them moving."
Possibility for high-quality passive-aggressive quotes emanating from the Cowboys locker room this season: very high.