IRVING, Texas** – Now three days removed from Sunday's loss and sideline theatrics, Jason Witten can't make it much clearer how much he enjoys playing with Dez Bryant and seeing the passion from the receiver.
One of Bryant's two sideline spats occurred with Witten. Bryant was animated after the Cowboys' offense failed to move the ball and the Lions went and scored with 12 seconds left, while Witten was trying to get Bryant focused on the ensuing offensive possession.
But Witten loves how much energy Bryant brings, and he doesn't feel there's a tipping point for how far the receiver goes on the sideline and in between plays.
"There's not a guy you love playing more with on Sundays than Dez Bryant," Witten said. "I feel like I have a lot of passion, and I think he matches that passion, so I love that. It's been an honor to watch him develop into the player and person that he became, really an elite player at his position and what he does. I think the biggest thing was there wasn't any frustration or concern."
Witten said there are times every player can be seen getting animated about something. The tight end admits sometimes he gets frustrated and loud, as well, and that players have had to tell him he needs to move on from an outburst.
The camera just happened to capture the star receiver, but Witten said he didn't have a problem with Bryant's antics.
"You can't have too much passion in those situations," Witten said. "It wasn't about him, it was about our team. You want more guys like that. I'm not just saying that, it really is. You want guys that care and are upset."
It appeared that Witten took exception to something Bryant said on the sideline. Witten explained he was just reminding Bryant there was still another possession and an opportunity to get the ball, and he figured Bryant would be a big part of that possession.
"There's no conversation other than we're all upset we didn't capitalize when we had the ball to finish the game out, and you move forward," Witten said. "Love playing with him. He's a great friend, great player, and he is, he's like a little brother. That attitude he brings to the game, the passion, it's great to be a part of. It's great for our football team.
"He loves football. To me, that's the greatest compliment you could ever give a player, that every time they get an opportunity to go play, they take advantage of it. That's him, and you love to have him on your team."
Witten also didn't consider Bryant's passion a lack of poise. He said there's nothing wrong with expressing that frustration.
"I didn't feel like it was immaturity or he doesn't know how to control it," Witten said. "I felt everything was great, it's just, we've got to go back out. That was my message, simply. We've got one more possession, and if you want to throw a jump ball or whatever we're going to run, he's the guy you want to throw it to, as good as there is. I think he's got great poise, he's got great energy.
"There's fiery guys on this team. There's a lot of passion. That's what it takes to play. It's a close-knit group, and that's what makes these losses tough, is that you want it so bad for each other." [embedded_ad]
Bryant's also got an ability to absorb what veteran players say to him, according to Witten, even if it doesn't always appear that way on television.
"I know he's got a lot of respect for me, and I obviously have a lot of respect for him," Witten said. "Really, that's what makes it special, him and I. It's a good, close relationship."
That goes for Tony Romo, as well.
"He wants to make Tony proud and know that he can throw it up to him in any of those situations," Witten said. "That's what makes him such a good teammate."
It appears there are players around the league who agree with Witten, even if many people outside the locker room thought Bryant's reactions were divisive or at least unnecessary.
"To be honest with you, I really didn't see anything too bad about it, outside of the Cowboys had lost in the last second, and this is what they want to focus on now," said Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. "I'm sure if the Cowboys pull that game off, we're not talking about Dez Bryant and his reaction."