FRISCO, Texas – It's not the first time Dez Bryant has had to have this conversation, and it assuredly won't be the last.
Fresh off a one-catch, 19-yard performance in Cleveland, in which he grew frustrated with multiple no-calls for possible defensive holding, Bryant was asked about his level of concern with his involvement in the offense. Like so many other times before this, it was a notion he scoffed at to assembled reporters.
"A lot of people will try to say that I'm a 'Me, me, me' guy, but I've never been. That's not how I was taught," Bryant said. "We care for one another. We want to see everybody do good. That's what's been going on around this locker room, and I love every bit of it. It can only make me better."
The Cowboys passed for 255 total yards against a hapless Cleveland secondary, with Dak Prescott finding eight different receivers on the day. Prescott also tossed three touchdown passes, all of which went to receivers who were virtually unguarded by the opposition.
Watch the tape, or ask the Cowboys, and a lot of that credit rightfully goes to Bryant – who drew double coverage from the Browns all afternoon long.
"I take full pride in that. If that's what you want to do, that's what you want to do – it is what it is," he said. "I know what the rest of the guys are going to do – they're going to make plays. They're going to make plays to where I can make plays, to where we all can make plays. That's what you wait for."
Bryant might have been held down on the day, but the added attention did allow Cole Beasley to spring for six catches, 56 yards and a score.
"I'm not going to lie: I literally told the defensive backs in Cleveland, 'You can keep doing it, but Bease is sitting there wide open, by himself,'" Bryant said.
The negative attention stems from Bryant's frustration at the referees' decision-making, which grew to the point that Prescott had to calm his top receiver down on the sideline. Asked about it Monday afternoon, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was firm in his defense.
"It's never been about, 'Hey, I've got to get my catches.' That's not what he's all about," Garrett said. "Anybody who thinks that's what Dez Bryant is all about has no idea what this guy is. He loves this football team."
Bryant pointed out that he's had phenomenal statistics in plenty of Cowboys game – many of which resulted in losses. But with this year's team sitting on a 7-1 record, the seventh-year veteran said he'll take victories every time.
In that same vein, he said he'll take the relationships he's built inside the Cowboys locker room over the outside perception, as well.
"I love my teammates, and they love me back," he said. "You never heard any one of these guys say anything negative about me, and you never will hear any one of these guys say anything negative about me, because it's all real here. I'll take that over anything."