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Goodell Holds Cards, But Case's Turn May Keep Dez On Field

IRVING, Texas –Neither Dez Bryant nor his mother Angela spoke during a Tuesday press conference in which Attorney Royce West read a statement regarding charges of domestic violence against the wide receiver.

But, the two nodded in tandem agreement when West said, "Dez and his mother believe this is a family matter that can be worked out through counseling."

According to the statement, Angela Bryant chose to file an Affidavit of Non Prosecution with DeSoto, Texas police after speaking with other people who witnessed the incident, which was termed a "family disagreement." The District Attorney's office can still pursue legal action against Dez Bryant, but will take the wishes of the alleged victim into consideration before proceeding.

The same could hold true for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as he weighs whether or not to punish the third-year Cowboy. Bryant had never been arrested before until turning himself in to police on July 16, two days after his mother told police he tore her shirt, pulled her hair and slapped her in the face with his ball cap.

Goodell has previously issued suspensions to players with a history of legal trouble prior to a conviction. In 2008, he sidelined Cowboys cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones four games following a fight with his own bodyguard, though no charges were ever filed in the case. However, Jones had numerous arrests before the incident, and had been warned about further slip-ups by Goodell, who had previously suspended him for the entire 2007 season.

Despite the off-the-field issues Dez Bryant has had, dating back to his college career, his clean police record would make a harsh punishment, such as a suspension, fairly unprecedented for the NFL. Still, Goodell has made it clear that he holds protecting the image of the league as his top priority, and Dez Bryant has had a string of unwanted publicity. Early this offseason he as detained, but not arrested, by police following a nightclub squabble in Miami, and in the spring of 2011 he was banned from a Dallas mall after a disturbance involving off-duty police offers. He has also been sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid debts.

None of the previous episodes were as grievous as his mother's initial allegation of abuse, which have now been rescinded.

"Mr. Bryant and his family understand the serious nature of family violence," the statement read. "They believe that when all the facts are reviewed, Mr. Bryant will be cleared of any allegations of family violence. … They ask that there not be a rush to judgment concerning their family."

Bryant has resumed communication through his personal Twitter account, confirming to a fan that he would indeed be with the Cowboys when training camp practices open to the full squad in Oxnard, Calif. on Monday.

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