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Dez Recounts Rollercoaster Offseason After Signing Contract
IRVING, Texas – It was a long car ride across town to the Cowboys’ Valley Ranch facility – not that it bothered Dez Bryant one bit.
Bryant arrived at Valley Ranch to sign a five-year contract at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, concluding a four-month discussion about his long-term future and whether he’d even play in 2015. Following the past few months, a lengthy commute was the least of his concerns.
“I smiled the whole way over here – I couldn’t even say nothing but just smile and laugh, because I couldn’t believe it,” Bryant said. “All I could just think about is that it’s a dream – a dream come true. I think the only thing that’s missing is a Super Bowl.”
That’s bound to go over well with Cowboys fans, who have followed this winding story since Bryant was placed under the franchise tag on March 2. It culminated in a $70 million payday for Bryant, but that wasn’t without twists and turns.
Despite high-stakes contract negotiations, Bryant was a regular at the facility this spring, stopping by several times throughout the offseason in an effort to show solidarity with his teammates.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever been in this kind of situation, and it was extremely hard,” he said. “It’s the whole reason why I came out to OTAs. I knew I was going to hear it from my agent, I was like ‘I don’t care.’”
All told, Bryant made appearances at the NFL draft, OTAs and the team’s mandatory minicamp – on top of making regular comments about his contract negotiations on social media.
“I’ve never been in this situation. I love my teammates, and I love the environment. I believe in building relationships with guys in order to be successful in anything that you do,” he said.
The most explosive of Bryant’s remarks came on Monday afternoon, when he said he wouldn’t be reporting to training camp – and could potentially miss regular season games – if a contract wasn’t finalized.
Even with the signature drying his new contract, Bryant said those threats weren’t idle ones. Had he not signed Wednesday, he could have potentially been in line to forfeit $750,000 per week during the season by not showing up.
“I’m a very passionate person, and I’m one of those guys that – I am that guy that, I have to stand by my word, because that’s how I want to raise my babies. It was all me. It was honest,” he said.
The Cowboys won’t ever have to find out how honest that was, as Bryant’s contract won’t come up for negotiation until 2020. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones’ prediction that his All-Pro receiver would be “leading the way” to start the 2015 season was right all along.
“Now that we’ve got the deal done, I can only imagine what’s fixing to go down this season,” Bryant said. “We’re Super Bowl ready.” Read