OXNARD, Calif. – This time last week, owner Jerry Jones said he was just too upset at Dez Bryant to even speak with him about his legal troubles, stemming from the June 16 arrest for domestic violence.
While things have changed in seven days, including a one-on-one meeting between the owner/GM and the wide receiver, Jones said his overall thoughts on the matter and how it affects the Cowboys' image and possible the focus has not wavered.
"I expressed my own frustration. I didn't want to visit until I get past all of that," Jones said Sunday following the Blue-White scrimmage. "I want everyone to know, especially Dez, this is not good for the Cowboys and the franchise. The same kinds of things he needs to address for the league, society, and the legal aspect, holds true for the Cowboys. It's not really new but a point of emphasis."
On the field, Jones said Bryant has reported to camp in the best shape of his career, something that allows him to make big plays.
"I'm seeing him doing what you expect from him," Jones said of Bryant. "We want him to do that all game long and all season long. I know he's in the best shape that he's been in since he's been in pro football. This season he's in top shape. It's exciting to see him make those plays. That's why he's got a real opp. To get his life together because he can make those plays. I want him to get to a point where people will say 'he's a young guy, he's made some mistakes, but look at him go now.' That's my dream for him."
But Jones also knows it's an uphill battle because of the off-the-field issues.
"I've seen much improved in Dez," Jones said. "But he screwed around here and got his benefit-of-the-doubt collateral down to nothing. And he's got to gain a bunch of that back. He can do it right here on this field. I think he can.
"I think it's a full-time lifetime job to get your acting right if you're going to e in the NFL and to be a good citizen. I know how much football means to him. Instincts tell me it's going to be a big motivator for him."