That’s why it was so surprising to see Bryant step out of bounds a yard short of the sticks on a second down in the first half of Sunday’s win.
The Cowboys coaches have tried to get Bryant to be more careful picking his spots to fight for extra yards, teaching him that it’s sometimes better to preserve your body than to take on a gang of tacklers. This was a rare instance of Bryant choosing poorly to avoid contact.
“Oh, man, I seen where we was at and I was like, ‘Damn!’ I didn’t mean to do that,” Bryant said. “It’s not like me to run out of bounds. I seen like four or five guys coming and stepped out. I didn’t see the first down marker. That’s my bad. I should have known where we was at on the field.”
Bryant avoided contact on the play but not the wrath of a frustrated home crowd.
“I heard the boos from the crowd,” Bryant said. “That hurt my heart.”
A quick whistle hurt Bryant’s ears the next time he was in a similar situation near the sideline. Bryant fought through a few tacklers before breaking free, but it was ruled that his forward progress was stopped, preventing a potential touchdown.
“That was too quick,” Bryant said. “I felt like I broke those tackles and he blew the whistle too quick. Somebody told me that (the official) fell. Did the guy fall? That’s probably why he blew the whistle. That’s not fair to me, but hey …”
It’s also not fair to question Bryant’s courage because he stepped out of bounds once when he should have lowered his shoulder. It might be the only time he’ll ever err on the side of caution.