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IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett does not believe that talks about a contract extension will distract wide receiver Dez Bryant.
Garrett invoked a former teammate, Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin, when talking about Bryant's approach to the game as he enters the final year of his rookie contract.
"He loves the game," Garrett said. "He has a great passion for the game. Contract aside, he's not worried about that. He's trying to get himself to be the best player he can be to help our team be the best it can be. He does it every day. He's really demonstrated some leadership qualities.
"I have a great fondness for Michael Irvin. I had the good fortune of playing with Michael for eight years. Michael Irvin set the pace and the tempo for our team all throughout the '90s. He worked harder than anybody else. And Dez Bryant has a lot of those same traits.
|Dez Bryant isn't distracted by contract talks, according to coach Jason Garrett. He's just trying to be the best player he can be.|
"If you get a chance, watch Dez in one-on-ones, watch him in routes on air, watch him warm up. He just does it the right way. He wants to play the game at a very high level. Any contract concerns don't show up on the practice field. He's trying to be the best player he can be."
Bryant is set to make $1.78 million this season. The Cowboys and his agent, Eugene Parker, have had some talks, but nothing is imminent. Bryant has said he wants to remain with the Cowboys, and the team does not want to let the star receiver go.
Bryant is coming off his first Pro Bowl season in 2013, when he caught 93 passes for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns.
But what Garrett appreciates most is the work Bryant puts in. During special-teams portions of organized team activities, Bryant will spend time catching passes off the Jugs machine.
"He's over there by himself with a couple of managers, hammering footballs at him, catching balls," Garrett said. "I told our film guy, 'Film that,' and I showed our team that in the team meeting, because Dez Bryant arguably has the best hands I've ever seen. Players on our team feel the same way. He's just such a natural, a natural catching the football.
"I tried to make the point to our team that you're really not a natural catching the football. Dez just catches more balls than anybody else. He's worn my arm out, he's worn the managers' arms out, the quarterbacks' arms out."