Does Dallas Cowboys' WR Dez Bryant Deserve Bust Label?

Chris RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2012

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 17:  Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys waives to fans before play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers December 17, 2011 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys' wide receiver Dez Bryant is inching closer and closer to the bust label in his third season in the NFL

Bryant possesses all of the talent in the world, but has yet to put it all together on and off the field. He is surrounded by elite talent such as quarterback Tony Romo and receiver Miles Austin. Bryant also has an owner in Jerry Jones who is willing to do literally anything to see him succeed. 

Despite this, Bryant has been a massive disappointment thus far in his career. Lets examine the variety of reasons Bryant has not lived up to expectations so far and whether or not he can turn things around. 


Subpar Numbers

Believe it or not, in 30 career games over three different seasons Bryant has eclipsed over 100 yards receiving once. 

As you can probably imagine, his season totals have not exactly been impressive. His career highs came in 2011, when he posted 63 receptions for 928 yards and nine touchdowns. 

Bryant's numbers suffer a bit from sharing receptions with Miles Austin and having talented backs on the roster such as DeMarco Murray, but they should be higher now if he wants to blossom into the No. 1 receiver most expected. 


Former First-Round Pick 

Bryant's numbers are so disheartening because he was selected so highly by Dallas in the 2010 NFL draft.

Jones and the Cowboys made the Oklahoma State product the No. 24 overall selection in the first round, fully expecting him to be a No. 1 receiver and one of the best in the NFL.

So far that hasn't happened. 

Bryant has struggled to be productive, and the physical domination he showed off at the collegiate level simply has not translated to the NFL. His inability to create separation and make the big play consistently has seriously hurt the Cowboys. 

During the 2011 season, it was also revealed Bryant still did not know the playbook, which he should have learned in early 2010 during his rookie season. 

Add that to a list of things Bryant has not done despite being drafted in the first round.


Off-the-Field Distractions 

To make matters even worse for Bryant, his issues have not been limited to the field. It was well-known going into the 2010 draft that Bryant had a troubled upbringing, but Dallas took a gamble on him anyway based on his talent. 

Bryant's issues started in early 2011 when it revealed he was being sued over a $267,000 jewelry bill he never paid. 

The off-field drama continued this summer when Bryant was arrested for allegedly striking his own mother in a domestic-abuse situation. 

As a result, Bryant has reportedly been subject to a strict set of rules by owner Jerry Jones, which include (via ESPN):

• 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 Cowboys 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.

So far the alleged rules have kept Bryant in line, but if the past is any indication, another issue could arise quickly. Bryant was meant to be a major part of a turnaround in Dallas, but so far his impact has been felt more off the field than on it. 



As of now, it is safe to say Bryant has been a bust. He's been an issue on and off the field, and given his high selection, he has not exactly performed up to expectations. 

There is plenty of time for Bryant to turn his life and performance on the field around, but it may not happen in Dallas if he continues to have problems in all facets of his life. 

Bryant seems to have realized the error of his ways and is making a serious effort to turn things around as he revealed in an interview with CBS:

I feel that I have learned a lot from all aspects, on the field, off the field...I see a lot of things more clear now, and I’m more confident in everything that I do. On the field and off the field, I try to make the best choices possible, and I feel like I’m doing a great job of that.

The words are great to hear from Bryant, but until we see it on and off the field, he most certainly will not have lived up to expectations.