After an oftentimes tumultuous first two seasons in the NFL, Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant appeared to be growing up a bit this offseason.
Following an argument with fellow patrons at a Miami nightclub in January, there had been no reports of off-the-field trouble of any kind until Monday, when Bryant turned himself into Desoto, Texas police on a misdemeanor charge of domestic violence, his first arrest. In the police report, released Tuesday, the wide receiver's mother, Angela Bryant, accuses him of ripping her shirt and her bra, as well as grabbing her by the hair and hitting her across the face with his ball cap.
While doubt has been cast over Bryant's apparent maturation, no one expected the 23-year-old to overcome a difficult and stunted upbringing overnight.
When asked a question about Bryant's off-the-field growth during the Cowboys' minicamp in June, team owner and general manager Jerry Jones was unwilling to declare him a finished product despite the fact his name had been out of the headlines for months.
"As soon as you note that, the next morning, you've got one," Jones said. "For anybody - I'm not talking about Dez . . . I'm just talking about in general - I'm just reluctant to comment about off-the-field with any player, because things happen on their own volition. So, I don't want to do that."
Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Bryant's legal trouble comes just two weeks before training camp, the beginning of a season in which the receiver has been expected to take a significant leap forward on the field.
"I do know one thing," Jones said in June. "He is certainly different as far as his maturity level and as far as his understanding of what it takes to play in the National Football League than he was when he got here."