INDIANAPOLIS – Add the Cowboys' owner and general manager to the long list of people speculating about Dez Bryant's future.
On a day that saw Jerry Jones offer commentary on a wide range of important issues, it's wild to realize that arguably his most eye-popping quote was about his former receiver, who is angling for a return to the franchise.
"I have not talked to Dez directly. I have been thinking about it a lot in the shower," Jones said Thursday. "I have been. I'm not dismissing it."
That's a heck of a way to suggest that the interest in bringing Bryant back to the Cowboys could be mutual.
For those that haven't been following along, this is easily the most intriguing comment on the organization's part about possibly adding Bryant to the roster. The former All-Pro receiver has been rehabbing a torn Achilles for more than a year, and he has spent much of the past month making overtures on social media for the Cowboys to give him another chance.
"He's had a serious injury, he's been out a little bit. But Dez is a great player. The obvious is the obvious," Jones said.
Bryant is obviously a significant figure in Cowboys lore. Originally drafted in 2010, he caught 531 passes for a franchise-record 73 touchdowns over an eight-year career, earning his way to three Pro Bowls in the process.
There was no shortage of intrigue during his Cowboys tenure – including the end of it. Bryant was released in the spring of 2018 after an up-and-down 2017 season, and he was vocal about his displeasure at that fact.
However contentious that split might have been, Jones said he didn't feel any animosity.
"It didn't end that way with me and him, and it didn't end that way with me," he said. "I understand completely how things can end that way. I've seen those types of, those characteristics of people and organizations ending, and those are reparable. They really are."
None of this is to say Bryant will find his way back to The Star this spring. There are other factors at play – on-field ability being chief among them.
"The question is, can he perform and can he overcome that injury and get in the kind of shape that it takes to be available – all of that kind of stuff," Jones said.
At the very least, though, it doesn't sound as if the door is closed.