Dez Bryant: Calvin 'set the standard'
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"I wasn't comparing myself at all," Bryant said on a conference call with Detroit media, his frustration obvious, even over a phone hundreds of miles away. "I think a lot of people took it the wrong way. Clearly, I said there's no comparison. That's something that I do not do. I don't compare myself with anybody."
Bryant instead explained that he meant he can do things Johnson can do -- and that other receivers can do as well, such as catching the ball.
Bryant said he even texted Johnson, with whom he does not have much of a relationship, on Tuesday. He declined to elaborate what the text said.
"It's just a pride thing, like I said," Bryant said. "Calvin Johnson set the standard, set that bar high for every wide receiver in the league. I think it's the respect, it's really respect to him that he makes receivers like us go out there."
So is Bryant saying Johnson is, in fact, the league's best wide receiver? He scoffed initially at that before explaining, again, what he meant.
"He broke Jerry Rice's [single-season yards] record last year," Bryant said. "That's setting the bar. So for every receiver in the league, that's what I'm saying."
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This all started Monday, when Bryant told 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas that "I believe I can do whatever he can do. It's just a pride thing. When it comes to football, just being on the field, it's a mindset and having a mentality."
It grew even more when Detroit wide receiver Nate Burleson, speaking in defense of Johnson, said Bryant should "keep it real" as part of his explanation for why Johnson is better.
Bryant was asked about Burleson's comments in an interview with "SportsCenter" that will air Wednesday.
"Well, you know, Nate's right -- I'm not Calvin Johnson, I'm Dez Bryant. I didn't open up a can of worms. I wasn't going out for nobody."
He was also asked in the interview if any of his coaches or teammates have spoken to him about his comments.
"They haven't really said anything to me about it because they all heard what I said," he told ESPN. "I don't take back anything I said because I didn't say anything wrong. I think it's how a lot of people are looking at it. I'm not lying about anything I'm saying. I take pride in my game. There's a lot of stuff that I believe I can do, just besides football."
In his conference call Wednesday, Bryant said he was among Johnson's biggest fans when he was growing up and while in school at Oklahoma State. Bryant watched Johnson and watched and tried to learn from him.
As far as Bryant is concerned, though, this all is something over nothing.
"Really, this is a nonissue," Bryant said. "This is not a comparison. There's nothing to compare."