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Monday, December 16, 2013
The education of Dez Bryant continues

By Calvin Watkins

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant walked off the field with about 1:21 to play against the Green Bay Packers. Bryant said he was upset with how the game unfolded on Sunday afternoon.

Tony Romo had just thrown his second interception of the afternoon, in the fourth quarter mind you, and Bryant had seen enough.

I understand the frustration that Bryant is going through. He's passionate and wants to win. People from the outside will tell you he's exactly what the Cowboys need: A ballplayer with passion who wants to win and has that dawg in him.

But Bryant was wrong for leaving the field. Keep your butt on the field. The game wasn't over yet, and say the Packers fumbled the kneel-down and the Cowboys recovered the ball. Then somebody would have to rush inside the locker room to get Bryant.

That would have been embarrassing.

"I was wrong," Bryant told reporters Monday morning. "It didn't have anything to do with my teammates. I just ... I couldn't watch Green Bay kneel the ball down on the field after a tough loss like that.

"I was very emotional. I cried when I got into the locker room. I didn't want to show that stuff on the sideline."

The loss to the Packers was bad enough, considering the Cowboys blew a 26-3 halftime lead and a chance to move into a tie for first place in the NFC East. Now coach Jason Garrett has to not only build the team's mental health back up, but he has to deal with Bryant's antics.

Again.

It's all about education for Bryant. However, at some point, doesn't the student have to make note of the lessons and apply them to what's happening on the field?

Last season, Garrett got on Bryant for arguing with officials and not moving on to the next play.

Guess what?

Bryant was called for holding during a run play in Sunday's game. It was a bad call, and to be honest, Bryant is a good blocker, especially on run plays. But the referee called it, negating a long run by DeMarco Murray.

So what does Bryant do? He goes off waving his arms and while the rest of the team is in the huddle, there's veteran/big brother/team leader Jason Witten waving Bryant back to the huddle.

So much for applying what's being taught.

"He loves his teammates, he loves this team, has a great passion for winning. You have to understand how to handle yourself in those situations. He'll learn from this situation," Garrett said on 105.3 The Fan on Monday morning.

Bryant is the best player on this Cowboys team, but it's actions like this that make you wonder if anyone can reach him. His bad background is not the reason for his struggles from time to time, as there are plenty of people with poor upbringings who are stable, successful members of society. At some point, the Cowboys need Bryant to be more mature on a consistent basis.

It's great for Bryant to apologize for what he did because he wasn't being disrespectful. Bryant is a good guy, who made a mistake. We've all made them.

Yet this mistake is a distraction at the wrong time of year.

Witten has a great passion for winning. So does DeMarcus Ware. Murray, too.

You don't think they were upset at the ending?

Guess what Witten did at the end of the game? When the clock read zero, he walked to the locker room.

Just like Bryant was supposed to do.