Realistic character concerns dropped Bryant, a first-team All-American and Heisman candidate at Oklahoma State, near the bottom of the first round. He was consistently late to team meetings and was eventually ruled ineligible for violating an NCAA bylaw.
And it's the same worn-out story for him in the NFL; an immense talent on the field wasted by immature actions off of it—most notably (and recently), when he had Class A misdemeanor charges filed against him by his very own mother, Angela Bryant, on July 20.
Needless to say, Jerry Jones and the front office were not too thrilled. That was strike a-lot-more-than-three for the young receiver who, upon arrival from training camp in Oxnard, CA, was presented with a series of guidelines he must abide by in order to remain on the team.
Here they are, per ESPN Dallas:
• A midnight curfew. If he's going to miss curfew, team officials must know in advance;
• No drinking alcohol.
• He can't attend any strip clubs and can only attend nightclubs if they are approved by the team and he has a security team with him.
• He must attend counseling sessions twice a week.
• A rotating three-man security team will leave one man with Bryant at all times.
• Members of the security team will drive Bryant to practices, games and team functions.
Seems a bit excessive, right?
Not really, if you ask me. I imagine a few other ideas bounced around the room before ultimately falling short of appearing on the list. While we may never know those ideas, we can speculate.
Here are ten—some good, some not so much—likely discussed as possible solutions to Bryant's off-the-field problems:
1. He must eat all of the vegetables on his dinner plate.
If not, no dessert for Dez. Oh, and make sure he doesn't try to hide any broccoli florets in his socks or pockets.
2. No TV or video games on weekdays.
Except for watching film. No, Madden 2013 does not count as "film." His top priority is to master the entire offense, no more out patterns when he's supposed to cut in.
3. Stretch before AND after workouts.
Concussions get the bulk of media coverage—deservedly so—but the importance of stretching deserves more attention. With Bryant's injury history, this is the best way to avoid any potential hammy or groin strains.
4. Pregame mixtape must include Tupac's "Dear Mama."
I'm sure he's not listening to Charles Mingus under those Beats by Dre headphones—though you can never be sure with some people. He can listen to whatever he wants, whatever pumps him up, as long as this song is included.
5. Anytime he feels the slightest hint of anger, he needs to sing a verse of "I Feel Pretty" out loud.
Hey, it seemed to work for Adam Sandler and Coach Bob Knight in Anger Management.
6. Perform at least one random act of kindness a day.
Complimenting someone, helping an old lady across the street, signing a couple extra autographs after practice, saying "gesundheit," charity work, etc.
7. Choose friends wisely.
It's all about surrounding himself with positive influences. I hear Tony Romo is a pretty good guy. It also helps that he's the starting quarterback. A few man dates here and there could strengthen on-field chemistry.
8. He can't leave the house until his room is clean.
That means making his bed, folding his clothes neatly or hanging them up in the closet and making sure all the fishies are fed. Throwing stuff under the bed or cramming them in the closet and closing the door does not qualify as cleaning. Sorry.
9. Before the season is over, he must read Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks Mom.
Again, for obvious reasons. Gratitude is a powerful thing.
10. He has to return to school and complete kindergarten through 12th grade or else that jerk Eric will take over his dad's company.
Oh wait, that's the premise for Billy Madison. Then again, it did help mature Billy.
Strangely, this list is identical to the list my parents left with the babysitter on date night. And look at me now. I've never been arrested. I did call my mom "a meanie" once—I will admit to that—but she never called the police and alleged that I "slapped her and pulled her hair." My boss has also never designed a specific set of guidelines to rectify my destructive behavior.
Here's to hoping it yields similar results for Dez Bryant—the Cowboys could really use his presence on the field, especially with Miles Austin nursing a hamstring injury and the departure of Laurent Robinson in free agency.
Cheers (holding a cold mug of root beer in the air)!