Commentary

Dez Bryant is blowing his opportunity

Cowboys WR must get help if he is to create a life for his kids that he didn't have

Updated: July 18, 2012, 10:22 PM ET
By Jean-Jacques Taylor | ESPNDallas.com

Dez Bryant will turn 24 this season. His mother, Angela Bryant, is 37.

We can all do the math.

[+] EnlargeBryant
Matthew Emmons/US PresswireDez Bryant must learn to control his emotions if he is to have success on or off the field.

Bryant has endured the type of childhood that's virtually impossible to overcome without substantial emotional damage. Most of us can't even comprehend Bryant's youth. We've never seen it on "The Brady Bunch." Or "The Cosby Show." Or whatever sitcom today's kids watch.

None of that is an excuse for Bryant putting his hands on his mother, which he is alleged to have done Saturday night.

None will ever exist in this lifetime.

Bryant's God-given athletic ability has provided him with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a life for his kids -- Zane and Dez Jr. -- that he never had.

He's blowing it.

Big time.

Time is quickly running out on his career with the Dallas Cowboys -- he has played only two seasons -- because his off-field drama makes you wonder just how much longer Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett are going to put up with it.

Sure, Bryant has prodigious talent and potential, but his production lags behind his athletic prowess. That's not good.

Even if Bryant doesn't realize his career is in the danger zone, his mother seems to get it. She's insisting he get anger management counseling to deal with the apparent rage burning within him. It might be the best idea she has ever had.

If Bryant wants to continue playing in the NFL and get a crack at one of those eight-digit contracts, he must learn to harness his emotions.

The process needs to start right now.

Bryant should seek immediate help because it's obvious he can't do it by himself. There's zero shame in that. All kinds of folks need professional help to deal with anger, grief, overeating, drugs, gambling and just about anything else you can name.

The saggy pants drama at NorthPark Center. The mini brawl in Miami. The heated verbal dispute Saturday night with his half-brother that ultimately led to Bryant being charged with a Class A misdemeanor for assaulting a female family member. Each of those incidents occurred because Bryant's emotions took him to a place he didn't want or need to go.

Bryant doesn't need enablers, such as his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who suggested he lay low in Miami this week. This shouldn't be about Bryant the football player; this has to be about Bryant the man.

If Bryant the person never gets straightened out, then Bryant the football player has no chance for long-term success.

At this time, Bryant needs to be surrounded by folks concerned solely about his future as a person -- not as an athlete.

Telling Bryant to grow up and mature is too simplistic. So is saying lots of folks come from awful home situations but don't let it negatively affect their lives.

We're all different. None of us handles life exactly the same.

Whatever the circumstance, Bryant must do better.

The 911 call his mother made to the police is chilling. Angela Bryant sounds weary and fatigued from the never-ending drama with her son.

"I can't keep letting him do me like this. I'm tired," Angela Bryant said on the call. "I'm going to put an end to it today. I'm going to put an end to it today. I'm tired."

Their relationship, as you might imagine, has always been complicated.

The age difference, at times, has made their relationship more like brother and sister than parent and child. Bryant's mother spent a portion of his formative years in prison for selling drugs.

And now they've changed roles. She's the parent, but Bryant is taking care of her.

"Dez loves his mother. His mother loves him," said Royce West, Bryant's attorney. "Dez has always provided support for his family and will continue to do so.

"This was an unfortunate incident and they're going to work together to heal the family. They recognize the serious nature of the allegations."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has proved time and time again that he's tough on players who bring shame to the NFL shield. There's every reason to believe this kind of incident could be a violation of the league's personal conduct policy, leading to a suspension or fine.

If it happens, then so be it.

This is bigger than the Cowboys. The NFL, too.

This is about a young man's life -- and career.

But it's up to Bryant.

He's the only one who can ensure it happens. The question is whether Bryant loves his kids enough to change, because once you have children your life no longer belongs to you.

It's all about them.

Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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