OXNARD, Calif. – There were threats of missing all of camp and maybe even a regular-season game. But at the end of the day, or offseason for that matter, Dez Bryant is exactly where he wants to be – with his teammates on the practice field.
At his first press conference signing his lucrative five-year, $70 million contract on July 15, Bryant addressed several topics, covering both on-field topics and off the field, particularly his new contract.
While Bryant has plenty of security now with the new deal, he said he feels no added pressure to perform at his standard high level.
"It's no pressure, That deal don't make me," Bryant said. "I play this game because I love this game. I don't give a damn about none of that. It's not going to change the way I play. It's not going to change the way I act. I'm here. Like, 'thank you, I can go buy me a home and now I'm able to take care of my family.' Yeah, I love that, but as far as me performing on the field, I take full pride in that."
Bryant reiterated Thursday he would've sat out the first game if he didn't have a new deal, stating, "it would've killed me, but I stood by it. I had to."
Dez is also standing by his image, which has been questioned since he was drafted in 2010. While there have been controversies surrounding him for the past five years, Bryant says he's doing the right things with his life, regardless of public perception.[embeddedad0]
"You've got a lot of people saying a whole bunch of false," Bryant said. "Now anyone can say anything they want to say about me. But if you don't hear it from me it means nothing. You just continue to keep going by what you're talking about. If you don't hear it from me, it means nothing. I'm going to stick what I do, what I say, how I say, and whatever I say. I'm not doing anything wrong. I'm living right. I want to be a role model. I grew up in a situation not like a lot of people. I feel like god gave me this gift to show people that's how you're supposed to do it. That's what I'm going to do."
When it comes to being a role model, it starts right at his own home, with his son Dez Jr.
"He watches everything I do. I play close attention to that," Bryant said. "I watch him stare at me, like not a mean look but 'what is daddy doing.' I watch him play the game whenever his friends come over, and he's doing exactly what I was doing. And when I see stuff like that, I have to watch myself. I have to make sure that I'm doing the right thing then."