IRVING, Texas – Training camp has officially begun for the Cowboys. Well, sort of.
They're calling it camp, but it doesn't feel like camp at all. For starters … there aren't many here. Nearly all of the starters aren't eligible to attend, considering this is mainly a three-day camp for rookies and selected vets.
Secondly, it's here at Valley Ranch as the Cowboys won't depart for sunny (and cooler) Oxnard, Calif. until Saturday.
But every camp seems to have a level of drama attached to it. And the Cowboys definitely have that, with wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Nothing changed on Wednesday, except for Jason Garrett speaking on the subject for the first time. As expected, the head coach stood by his receiver, but said there is more than just support for Bryant, himself.
"First and foremost, we support Dez Bryant's family," Garrett said to a group of reporters following Wednesday's practice. "We support Dez. We support his mom. We want to help them in any way that we can. We have the resources to do that."
Garrett said he has spoken to Bryant "a number of times" since he was arrested two Mondays ago for a domestic-violence incident with his mother, Angela, in DeSoto, Texas. On Tuesday, the attorney of both Dez and Angela issued a public statement that charges won't be filed against Dez, at least by his mother.
The statement also said there was no family domestic violence and that they hoped to move on from the incident, one of a handful associated with Bryant since he was drafted back in 2010. This was his first arrest, but there have been other incidents that have caused the Cowboys to be concerned.
And the NFL might be involved. Commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to issue his own punishment toward Bryant, regardless if charges have been dropped.
Garrett was vague when asked if Bryant is still subject to a fine and/or suspension by the NFL or even the Cowboys. Garrett did say he expects Bryant to be on the team charter Saturday afternoon heading to Oxnard.
"Anybody who knows Dez Bryant's story and knows our team understands that he comes from a challenging background," Garrett said. "He's had a difficult road to get to where he is in his life. There's no excuse for anything that's happened in his life. You can't go back and say, 'Hey I came from this background.' That's not what we're saying.
"We understand what that is and we understand as an organization how we can try to help him. He's made a lot of progress since he's been here with the Cowboys both as a person and as a player and he has a long way to go just like we all do."
And Garrett isn't alone in his support for Dez. Quarterback Tony Romo spoke at an appearance on Tuesday and backed Bryant, whom he talked to by phone soon after the incident last week.
"I'm here for my teammate," Romo said. "Dez knows that I care about him. Dez knows that I care about his family. Dez knows that I'm here for him when he needs me. I know he's the same way.
"I think Dez and everybody does things they wish they could have back in life and do things different sometimes. But that was a situation and he will learn from it and he'll do steps in the future to make sure that doesn't happen again. I know he feels bad and he's a kid who's growing and learning to become a man. He really is a good kid."