Dez Bryant made it clear earlier this week that, hard feelings or not, he would still prefer to be a Dallas Cowboy.
Team owner Jerry Jones reiterated Friday that his former star wide receiver should forget about any on-field reunion.
On the heels of Bryant’s tweet response to a fan Tuesday in which the free agent said he would most like to play for the Cowboys, Jones was asked in his weekly radio appearance in Dallas about his thoughts on the potential for a return.
“We feel good about Dez and wish him the very best,” Jones told GBAG Nation on 105.3 The Fan. “Trust me, if it were in our best interests, his and ours ... he’d be on the field for the Cowboys.”
The lingering question of Bryant’s status without a current NFL employer matched with the lack of an obvious down-field threat in the Cowboys’ offense this season has continued to fuel this offseason storyline after the Cowboys cut the three-time Pro Bowl receiver in April.
Jones admitted he understands why the questions keep coming, especially with the Cowboys off to a 2-2 start.
“I know I’m the one to ask as a response to that, but as you know, we’re friends,” Jones said of Bryant. “To say the least, we’re friends. I have a lot of pride in where is relative to our relationship as it pertains to him as an individual. I mirror feelings of that nature. It just seems like is a Cowboy.
“But we’ve got to look at what we’re all having to deal with and that is what’s in the best interest of the team. So, that’s a different story there.”
Jones may be alluding to Bryant’s frosty public reactions and comments since being let go by Dallas. After the Cowboys lost in Week 1, Bryant replied to a tweet from a Cowboys fan asking him to come back to Dallas by saying, “I rather go somewhere I can show case my skills for real,” suggesting the New England Patriots or Washington Redskins. He had previously said he wanted to play for another NFC East team, so he could face the Cowboys twice a year.
Bryant was also openly critical of several former teammates following his release, suggesting head coach Jason Garrett’s “guys” facilitated his departure behind his back. He declined to name anyone at the time, but did so in a series of tweets in July when he criticized the team’s “garbage playcalling” and called linebacker Sean Lee a “snake,” accusing the team co-captain of being behind Bryant’s release.
Bryant, who turns 30 next month, remains unsigned after he turned down a three-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens shortly after his release, reportedly as he sought a one-year “prove-it” deal with a contender. Bryant also visited the Cleveland Browns during training camp, but no agreement materialized.
A first-round pick of the Cowboys in 2010, Bryant had 73 touchdowns and 531 receptions for 7,459 yards in 113 games, but he hasn’t topped 850 yards in a season since 2014. He finished last season with 69 catches for 838 yards and six touchdowns, while playing in all 16 games for the first time since 2014.
The eight-year veteran made $13 million in base salary last year, the third of a five-year, $70 million pact signed in July 2015. The Cowboys saved $8.5 million by releasing him, and he still counts $8 million in dead money against their cap.
—Field Level Media