- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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OXNARD, Calif. -- Welcome back to practice, Dez Bryant.
Bryant made a spectacular touchdown catch on his first live rep of Thursday’s practice, soaring over Brandon Carr to snatch the ball on a fade route during one-on-one drills. It’s the kind of play Bryant made on a routine basis before sitting out four days to nurse a sore hip.
“It felt good to be back practicing. Just fun,” Bryant said. “It’s always fun to play some ball.
“I feel like I didn’t miss a beat. Came out, had fun, competed with the guys and enjoyed myself.”
The Cowboys were being cautious in keeping Bryant out of practice. The condition wouldn't have caused him to miss time during the regular season, but they want to make sure his hip doesn’t become a nagging issue.
“I wanted to be out there,” Bryant said. “I had to listen to the trainers. I was so anxious. What I did do is I got a lot of mental reps. When I was in there watching film, I think what I learned a little bit more is I was always able to understand coverages, but I’d seen it so clear today. It felt good. I felt like I converted everything where I’m supposed to. I did everything that Tony [Romo] needed me to do.”
That included a highlight-reel catch to essentially announce his presence on the practice field again.
Carr had good coverage on the play. Romo threw a perfect jump ball, allowing Bryant’s freakish athleticism to take over. Bryant high-pointed the ball with both hands and held on as Carr tried to knock it out on the way down.
“It wasn’t an easy catch,” Bryant said. “Going against him and [Morris Claiborne], you have to battle. I feel like I did. When we competed during that play, I had to fight him every inch.”
Bryant, blessed with a 38-inch vertical leap, wins a bunch of those battles.