OXNARD, Calif. – It sounds corny, but Cowboys practice is just more entertaining when Dez Bryant suits up.
Bryant donned pads Thursday evening for the first time this week, after "quad soreness," among other mysterious ailments, limited the wideout from participating.
The difference was immediately noticeable, as quarterback Tony Romo found Bryant early and often, including a spectacular touchdown catch against cornerback Brandon Carr during one-on-one drills.
Bryant spoke after practice about his health, Sunday's Hall of Fame Game against Miami, and Thursday's visit from Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul.
What did it mean to be back on the practice field?
It felt good to be back practicing – it's just fun, you know? It's always fun to play some ball.
After four days off how much did you want to be out there?
I felt like I didn't miss a beat. I came out, had fun, competed with the guys and enjoyed myself. I didn't not want to be out there – I wanted to be out there. But I had to listen to the trainers. I was so anxious. But what I did do was, I got a lot of mental reps. When I went in and watched film, I was watching B-Carr, I was watching Mo, I was watching the defense. I think what I learned a little bit more was, I always was able to understand coverages, but I seen it so clear today, and it felt good. I felt like I converted everything I was supposed to. I did everything I needed to do.
What about the catch you had against Brandon Carr in one-on-ones?
It wasn't an easy catch. Going against him and Mo, you have to battle, and I felt like I did. When we competed during that play, as you can tell, I competed every inch of that play.
Did it make a difference rest-wise to have four days off? Did you feel rested?
I felt like … the same. I was still working out. They were still putting a load on me in the weight room. Me and (assistant strength and conditioning coach) Brett (Bech), as y'all could see yesterday, we got on those ropes. We did pretty good on that. We had a good little workout on that, and I got a little sweat – I lost about three pounds on that. It felt good.
Do you want to play in the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, or do you care?
Of course I care – I care about every game. Preseason, I look at it just like a regular season game. The only thing I don't like about preseason is, we go in for a couple of plays and then we come out – that's the only bad thing about preseason. But I understand it's a long season, so whatever the coaches want me to do, I'll do it.
So there's nothing wrong with your hip anymore? [embedded_ad]
It's ok. I'm still pushing through it. I feel good. I'm going to go in and get a little bit of treatment and stay on top of it.
Chris Paul said earlier he's a big fan of yours. What does that mean to you?
It's an honor, you know, especially from one of the best point guards in the NBA. For him to be a fan of me, I'm also a huge fan of him – like I just said, I feel like he is the best point guard in the NBA. Not only that, but just being a part of the Jordan brand alongside him, that also feels great.