The public criticism of wide receiver Dez Bryant by the Dallas Cowboys won’t go away because Stephen Jones won’t let it go away.
Jones is the son of Cowboys owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones and also doubles as the team’s director of player personnel.
Earlier this week he went on the “Hangin’ with the ‘Boys” podcast and said Bryant “can be a distraction.”
“Dez is certainly a fiery guy who plays with a lot of emotion both on and off the field,” he said. “Sometimes, that can be a distraction. It can be a distraction for Dez, it can be a distraction for other teammates. We just have to really get our hands around when you put all the full body of work together where that’s headed.”
On Wednesday, Jones was given a chance to clarify his statements. But instead of walking back his comments in order to appease Bryant, he doubled down on his initial criticism.
“Well, Dez is an emotional guy. He plays with emotion. That’s part of his game,” Jones told reporters. “We work with him constantly on trying to really channel his energy in positive ways. I just think when he has those type of emotional roller coasters, I think at the end of the day he needs to understand that it does affect more than just Dez.
“He loves his teammates. He obviously has made so many great plays for us over the years, but when you start to look at the things that we need to be better at that’s one of them.”
Jones then reiterated what seemed to be the main point he was trying to make.
“I think he needs to understand that it’s not something that’s just affecting him,” he said. “It does affect his teammates.”
Bryant’s passion and intensity often show up in the form of shouting and pouting on the sideline — antics that the Cowboys seemed to tolerate when Bryant was one of the league’s best receivers.
He averaged 1,312 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns per year from 2011 to 2014. But those averages have dropped to 678 receiving yards and six touchdowns over the last three seasons.
That decrease in production, combined with a cap hit that is third-most among all receivers, makes Bryant’s Cowboys future in doubt.
“We want to have success as an organization and you have to look at the things that weren’t so good and improve on them. It’s not just Dez,” Jones said. “There are other things that we’re looking at, and I got to look at myself, everybody has to look at ways they can be better if we want to be playing football this time of year.”
Jones is making these public comments knowing that Bryant will hear them — likely in an effort to soften Bryant’s stance on taking a pay cut, which he refuses to do.
The Cowboys want him back, but they want him back at their price, not his.
Jones admitted that his father would have a hard time with letting Bryant go.
“You know what Jerry thinks of Dez. He’s like a son to him,” Jones said. “He really loves Dez and thinks the world of him. His heart is in the right place. He wants to win and he wants to be the very best. We just have to channel all these energies and things in a positive way so we can be better.”
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