IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant isn't back to full football activities just yet as he continues to recover from January surgery on his right foot and ankle.
But he's been a regular participant in the Cowboys' offseason program, and that alone has been beneficial for the Cowboys' star receiver.
Last spring, Bryant missed the entire voluntary program under the franchise tag as both sides held contract extension talks. He signed a five-year, $70 million deal in mid-July, a couple of weeks before training camp began.
"Of course, it made a huge difference last year not being able to be here," Bryant said. "Not being able to be around my teammates or football things, that's rough.
"I'm not making any excuses. Now having the opportunity to be back with my teammates, being able to practice, being in this locker room, laughing and doing all that stuff, that stuff makes a huge difference. I think we're all on the right track."
Bryant caught some passes Wednesday as the Cowboys began their organized team activities (OTA's) workout but did not participate in any team drills. He said he expects to undergo follow-up X-rays soon to monitor his foot's progress.
"It feels good. I'm right on time," he said. "I actually feel a little ahead of the game. But I'm going to stay patient."
Coming off a career-high 16 touchdown catches in 2014, Bryant never really had the opportunity to find his rhythm in the offense last year. He missed a large part of training camp with a hamstring injury, then broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot in the season opener against the Giants and had surgery to repair the fracture, costing him five games.
Bryant returned to play in nine total games and finished 31 catches for 401 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Cowboys placed him on injured reserve near the end of the season as foot and ankle injuries continued to bother him.
"He's worked very hard in his rehab, and he looks good," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He's crossed every threshold up to this point. You see him out there doing some of the individual stuff or the walkthrough stuff. That's been a positive thing for him. We've kept him out of anything that's competitive going against the defense. But we're really taking him day by day, doing a lot of work on the side, but he's made a lot of progress."
A fierce competitor, Bryant is anxious to return to full activity. But he said he's listening to the team's medical and athletic training staff as he moves closer to a full return.
"I feel fine; I've been working out real good," he said. "I'm getting back to my old self."