- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Bryant acknowledged a recent realization that he needed to "change my act up" and addressed his relationship with his mother, Angela, for the first time since his July 16 arrest on a Class A misdemeanor family violence charge for an alleged physical confrontation with her.
The Dallas County district attorney's office moved the charge to a conditional dismissal last week, meaning it will be dropped if the 24-year-old Bryant attends counseling and is not charged with any crimes for a year.
"Let me tell you something, my relationship with my mom is great," said Bryant, who has 15 catches for 232 yards and two touchdowns during the Cowboys' two-game winning streak. "Even after the fact, it's great. I don't want to get into it much, but when it happened in our eyes, it was overblown.
"I love my mom. My mom loves me. Everything is great between us."
Bryant declined to discuss in detail the strict set of rules that his adviser David Wells and Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones devised for him this summer, which includes the receiver always being accompanied by a member of a three-man security detail when he isn't attending team functions.
Speaking in more general terms, Bryant said he appreciates the discipline and structure in place for him now, elements that were missing during his dysfunctional childhood in Lufkin, Texas. Bryant's mother was 14 when she had him and served an 18-month prison sentence after being convicted for selling crack cocaine in 1997.
With his father in and out of his life, Bryant bounced from home to home until he went to Oklahoma State.
"I don't want to make excuses, but people brought up differently see different things, been in different things -- having two parents, having no parents," said Bryant, the doting father of sons Zayne, 5, and Dez Jr., 2. "It's different. I just feel like it's been a learning process for me my whole life, and I'm just getting to it.
"I got real responsibilities I feel like I'm handling the right way. I'm enjoying my life the way I should have been enjoying it a long time ago."
Bryant was still available late in the first round of the 2010 draft due to concerns about his off-field issues, prompting the Cowboys to trade up three spots to select him with the 24th overall pick. He had several public missteps, such as a confrontation with mall security and lawsuits due to unpaid debts, during his NFL career before his July arrest.
Jones said Sunday that he believed Bryant was maturing as a player and a person, although he acknowledged that it was a process and was hesitant to lavish the receiver with a lot of praise even after a 12-catch, 145-yard, one-touchdown performance in an overtime win over the Cleveland Browns.
"In general, I feel that Dez is maturing everywhere," Jones said. "Now that's not to say that he won't go out there and run the wrong route. We don't want him running the wrong route off the field.
"The point is, without trying to be cute, Dez is improving. But the risk is here that he's on the field in the glaring spotlight for the Cowboys and off the field for the Cowboys. So I'm reluctant -- we all are -- to say, 'Boy, Dez is doing good.' Dez is doing better."
Bryant called his maturation "slow progress." He added that the fallout from his summer controversy helped that process in part by forcing him to realize he needed to make changes.
"We focus on small things, it will eventually turn into big things," Bryant said. "Small, positive things turn into big, positive things. As long as I keep doing the right things, all the things that happen are positive things."
21hEric D. Williams