INDIANAPOLIS – The Cowboys have not had to worry about Dez Bryant during the season, but his issues – major and minor – have all come in the offseason since joining the team in 2010.
However, knowing that nothing is guaranteed, owner and general manager Jerry Jones says he believes the off-field troubles, ranging from an arrest following an argument with his mother to a number of suits related to unpaid loans, are part of Bryant’s past.
“Dez is in a better place relative to anything that the Cowboys are interested in, which is most everything about him,” Jones said. “He’s in a better place and that’s a positive. ... He’s not around the kind of atmosphere or doesn’t have the kind of risks that are involved in his life on or off the field that he had seven, eight months ago.”
Bryant, who had offseason finger surgery, had a breakout 2012 season with 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Coach Jason Garrett cited Bryant's maturity as a major factor in the increased production.
"There’s a correlation in the growth and development as a person and the growth and development of the player," Garrett said. "I think what he’s done more than anything else is just simply mature and it has a lot to do with the approach that he’s taken. I think the first couple of years in the league, he was a very productive player for a rookie receiver and a second-year receiver, he made big impacts on games, but he wasn’t as consistent as he needed to be. I think his practice habits, his commitment to getting better on the details of the game just continued to improve. I think he saw the results on how that led to him having success on Sunday afternoons.”