The offseason is officially underway.
That's at least how wide receiver Dez Bryant views things now that the football season has officially ended for all the Dallas players.
Bryant was one of seven Cowboys in Sunday night's Pro Bowl, meaning all games with a Star on the helmet have ended for the 2016-17 season.
Now, it's time to move on to the next year … immediately.
"It's time to work again," Bryant said last week in Orlando. "Once this game is over, we're getting back to the grind. We did some great things last year and won a few games. But we didn't get to where we wanted to go. And all you can do is get back to work."
No matter which player gets the question, ranging from Dak Prescott to Sean Lee, all of the Cowboys admitted last week that they were disappointed with the playoff exit to the Packers. And Bryant is no exception to the rule, even citing Aaron Rodgers as the best quarterback in the game.
"You've got to give it to him," Bryant said. "He made the plays when he had to."
But even though the Cowboys missed out on their bigger goals, Bryant says the 13-3 record from 2016 has set the stage for the future, something he thinks is brighter than ever.
[embeddedad0]"The standard that we have created makes us feel rejuvenated," Bryant said. "The whole organization – we have something special here and let's take advantage of it."
So how does one take advantage of that exactly?
"For me, the first thing I thought about was, where can I get the best training? Where can I get the best this and that, so we can get better and get started on 2017?" Bryant said. "It's already started. I think the rest of the guys feel that way, too."
Bryant was added to the NFC Pro Bowl roster just a few days before the game. It was his third Pro Bowl selection, tying him for second in franchise history among receivers. Michael Irvin leads all Cowboys receivers with five Pro Bowl selections, but Bryant now has three, along with Bob Hayes, Drew Pearson and Tony Hill.
"It's just an honor to be in this company with these great players," said Bryant, who was originally an alternate but was added when Atlanta's Julio Jones and his Falcons teammates advanced to the Super Bowl. "You obviously want to be in the (Super Bowl), but it's great to be considered one of the best."
Bryant's numbers were down in 2016, as he caught just 50 passes for 796 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns.
"I think everyone knows what a great player Dez Bryant is for our team and in this league," head coach Jason Garrett said about his star receiver. "He's really improved in a lot of areas this year. And I know he's excited about what we're doing here and getting ready for next year."
View some of our favorite photos at the Pro Bowl from team photographer Jeremiah Jhass.