And Dez really didn’t want to talk to reporters again. Yet, he knew he had to this time.
Never one to lack emotion, Dez Bryant stood in front of the media to explain his side of his early-game exit on Sunday before the final seconds ticked off of the Cowboys’ 37-36 loss to the Packers.
“Let me start by saying that was not the right thing to do was to walk back in,” Bryant said Monday. “I wasn’t looking at it that way, how people are portraying it. Everybody in this locker room, they understand, they understood my frustration, losing like that, that’s hard. I know I’m a very emotional player. I’ve always been that way. I got to do a better job of controlling my emotions.
“I feel like there was no way I could have sat there and watched them knee the ball and shake any one of those players’ hands. Just because of the fashion of how we lost. And it was heartbreaking. It had nothing to do with my teammates. Nothing. Because I honestly felt like we played great, we just didn’t finish.”
Losing a game like that was bad enough for Dez. But what seemed worse to him was the perception that he walked out on his teammates.
“That’s the worst thing to me,” Bryant said. “I’m a team guy. I love my team and I love the Dallas Cowboys. I would never walk out on them.”
Bryant admitted to shedding a few tears after the loss and says he’s done that “several times” with other games, dating back to his high school and college games.
“I know for me it’s very, very, very hard to swallow,” Bryant said. “We put in a lot of work and we fought hard and the way we fought that night and we didn’t come out on top, that kind of stuff leaves scars. It brings pain. I know that’s what it brought to me. Like I said, it had nothing with none of my teammates and it was all me. The way I was feeling, no selfishness, none of that. It was the way I felt, I couldn’t take it. I didn’t want you guys to catch me on the sideline crying or anything.”
Head coach Jason Garrett said Bryant has not and won’t be fined by the team. But he did speak to his wide receiver about handling the situation better.
“I just addressed it with him dead on. He was frustrated at the end of that ballgame,” Garrett said. “He said, ‘Coach, I just couldn’t handle it when I saw those guys in our stadium taking a knee in a game we should have won.’ He said ‘I don’t want to do something stupid with everybody watching so I wanted to remove myself from that situation.’
“I certainly understood that and explained to him why it’s important not to do that in the future. We all have that same kind of investment in that ballgame, it’s difficult for everybody when things don’t go well and he needs to understand how to handle that. I think he’ll handle that better in the future. He was very apologetic to me and was concerned about the situation. Again, he will handle it the right way next time.”
Bryant said he understands the fine line of playing with passion and emotion, but also keeping them in check, especially with the cameras watching.
Earlier this season against the Lions, Bryant had two separate altercations with teammates and coaches, although thanks to a sideline microphone on one of them, it revealed Bryant’s volatile actions were more encouraging words and less antagonistic in behavior.
Bryant knows his sideline demeanor is something that has to improve.
“I think handling everything, I have not been doing that,” Bryant said. “Handling my emotions and all that kind of stuff professional. I can 100 percent agree to that. But I’ll be so tuned into the game, so focused on the game. Not caring about cameras. I don’t care, have not been carrying about who’s looking. I’m a football guy. I don’t care about the stuff that comes with football. I just love the game and sometimes I need to understand and do a better job, it’s hard times, which I know that, but basically just handling those hard times.”