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Monday, March 25, 2013
Dez Bryant showing signs of maturity

By Calvin Watkins

Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett, the two biggest faces with the Dallas Cowboys, praised the work of wide receiver Dez Bryant in two separate conversations last week at the NFL owners meetings.

And not just his on-the-field work, but what he's done off the field.

"He's just a really, really good young man," Garrett said. "He's made great strides over the last three years. We feel good about the progress he's made, not only as a player but as a person. We all know from the background from where he came; he's really grown a lot. I think the consistency that he's shown in his personal life spills over and the consistency he's shown as a player and his production he's shown on Sundays. I feel great about his progress and try to stay in touch with him, with all our players."

On Saturday, Bryant made a surprise appearance at a rally against domestic violence in Dallas.

The event was also attended by Brandon Carr, Roger Staubach and Emmitt Smith.

Bryant was arrested for allegedly hitting his mother, Angela, last summer. The Dallas County District Attorney's office moved the Class A misdemeanor family violence charge to conditional dismissal in November. The charges will be dropped if Bryant attends counseling and is not charged with a crime for a year.

"I made a mistake," Bryant told a large crowd that attended the rally spearheaded by Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings. "I just want everybody to know, it's not good to hit women and I challenge every man out here to X all domestic violence of your life."

On Sunday afternoon, Bryant wrote this on Twitter: "The way I think and the way I've been going about my business lately.. I have no choice but to be successful #thatsallGOD"

It seems we're getting a mature Dez Bryant, the Dez Bryant the Cowboys hoped he would become when they moved up in the draft and selected him late in the first round.

Bryant's world on the field is fantastic. He's one of the more explosive players on the field, has become a trusted receiver for quarterback Tony Romo and his command of the offense isn't a worry anymore.

"Is it dreaming to think that we can have a more effective Dez Bryant?" Jones said. "In the sense, Dez just gets better and has a better understanding of what he's doing when he's not getting the ball: How he's helping Miles (Austin) out. How he's helping (Dwayne) Harris out. How he's helping (James) Hanna and how he's helping (Jason) Witten. But he has a better understanding there. I'm looking forward to a more effective Dez Bryant, and everything I'm saying about his work is showing us that."

Bryant is also getting positive guidance from adviser David Wells. It was Wells who encouraged Bryant to attend the rally not for PR purposes, but because it was just the right thing to do.

Bryant agreed and he showed up with another Cowboys player who has faced legal trouble in nose tackle Josh Brent. Brent is awaiting a court date after being charged with intoxication manslaughter.

This offseason has been quiet for Bryant, and the Cowboys want to keep it that way for one of their most explosive talents.