Drew Pearson: Quit anointing Dez Bryant

The man who began the tradition of No. 88 for the Dallas Cowboys wants to dial down the hype about the guy who currently wears that number.

Drew Pearson, who will join fellow No. 88 Michael Irvin in the Ring of Honor this season, doesn't believe Dez Bryant has earned the kind of praise he hears showered on the phenomenally talented second-year receiver.

"I don't care how you start the game," Pearson said during his weekly Monday appearance on ESPN 103.3's Ben and Skin Show. "It's how you finish the game that makes you a real 88."

Bryant started the Cowboys' season opener in spectacular fashion, catching three passes for 71 yards and a touchdown in the first eight minutes against the Jets. He didn't make another catch the rest of the night.

A bruised quad and cramps contributed to Bryant's lack of production for the final three and a half quarters in the loss to the Jets. The cramps especially bothered Pearson, because it indicates that Bryant isn't conditioned well enough.

"You saw what happened in the fourth quarter," Pearson said. "We had receivers who couldn't finish the game. C'mon! Jeez!

"We need you in the fourth quarter. The first quarter was spectacular. Great job, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah. But now we need you in the fourth quarter and you can't even run."

Pearson doesn't dispute that Bryant has the talent to potentially develop into an elite receiver. However, the Original 88 doesn't believe that Bryant has earned the hype.

"We just need to quit anointing him," Pearson said. "The No. 1 receiver on the Cowboys is Miles Austin. ... To anoint a guy for potential and call him a monster, let me see it first. Let me see some consistency of success."