OXNARD, Calif. – By almost any measure, whether it's his gaudy statistics, his rapidly-approaching payday or even his Madden rating, Dez Bryant is considered one of the league's top receivers.
What Bryant said scares him is how much better he think he can still be.
"Truthfully, to be honest, I feel like, man, I'm still rising. I learn new things and things just become easier by the day," Bryant said. "To me, it's almost kind of scary to me just because of the fact of how much I love the game -- not only myself, I want my teammates to be great. The way that I feel, I don't hesitate to share that with my teammates. And I'm going to continue to keep doing that and see where we go from there."
The concept of team was a popular topic during Bryant's first speaking session of this training camp. That goes along with the somewhat surprising revelation that, despite being just 25 years old, Bryant is one of this team's oldest, most experienced receivers.
"I'm not the old guy -- I'm not," Bryant said with a smile. "I'm still one of the youngest."
That might be true, but with the departure of Miles Austin in the offseason, even more eyes are on Bryant – not just to produce, but to lead. Bryant said he reached out to the receivers during the offseason, organizing dinners and other activities for the group. That said, he maintained his desire to keep the receiver corps on an even field. [embedded_ad]
"Because of the experience, yeah, but other than that nothing has changed. Everybody, in the wide receiver group, looks at each other as the same," he said. "That's how I want it and that's how they want it and that's how we're going to keep it, and we're just going to continue to try to make each other better."
If Bryant can truly improve on 185 receptions for 2,615 yards and 25 touchdowns – his combined totals for 2012 and 2013 – he really will have something scary on his hands. The contract talk that surrounds those type of numbers is sure to be loud, but in that regard Bryant maintained his stance from the spring.
"I'm confident in my play and I'm pretty sure that's going to take care of itself," he said. "There is no need for me to be stressed out or worried about it -- it's going to come. Like I said, it's deserving. We'll just wait and see what happens."
In the meantime, the work begins Saturday with the team's first padded practice. The guy throwing Bryant the ball had some good perspective on continuing to build on a Pro Bowl season.
"I talk with him a lot about taking ownership and being the best version of himself," said Tony Romo. "He's already good but now he can dig in and find those little things that only he knows."