Dez Bryant's passion for the game of football is undeniable and admirable, but the talented receiver can't continue letting his emotions get the better of him.
He made headlines for all the wrong reasons during Week 15's heartbreaking loss to the Green Bay Packers when he left the field of play before the game was over.
There was still one minute and 22 seconds left on the game clock when Bryant walked off the field and into the locker room. Tony Romo had just thrown his second interception of the day, sealing a remarkable comeback win for the Packers.
It's not right to just walk off the field like that, and Bryant can't allow his emotions to rule him going forward. He provided his reasoning for leaving his teammates on the sideline while he ducked for cover, as relayed by Clarence Hill:
Dez Bryant: I couldn’t watch GB kneel the ball down. I cried when I got in the locker room, I didn’t want to show that stuff on the sideline— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) December 16, 2013
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It's not hard to understand Bryant's frustration after Dallas' meltdown against the Packers on Sunday, Dec. 15. The Cowboys are fighting for a playoff spot, needing to win the NFC East to get in, and the loss kept them one game behind the Philadelphia Eagles with two games remaining.
Furthermore, Bryant had done everything in his power to help his team win the game, catching 11 passes for 153 yards and one touchdown—a miraculous grab you've got to see to believe, but it was all for naught.
Bryant's visceral response to losing is exactly what you want from your stars, but the way he handled it was exactly what you don't want to see.
If you took a poll of all the players and coaches on Dallas' sideline at the moment Bryant stormed off the field, however, you wouldn't find a single person who wasn't feeling the same agony of defeat as Bryant.
On Monday, Dec. 16, head coach Jason Garrett addressed his receiver's early exit on 103.5 The Fan and said Bryant needs to stay on the field while there's time remaining on the clock, per Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com:
We'll address that with Dez today. I understand to a certain extent. They're kneeling the ball, the game essentially is over. But he needs to stay out on the field and I'll address that with him today.
He loves his teammates, he loves this team, has a great passion for winning. You have to understand how to handle yourself in those situations. He'll learn from this situation.
Professional athletes are supposed to act like professionals, but Bryant's compulsive exit was something you'd expect from an immature high-school kid.
Even though he's still a young man, Bryant must realize that he's a leader for the Cowboys—whether he wants that mantle or not. Whether he realizes it or not, by leaving the field early—leaving his teammates in the dust—Bryant made losing the game about himself, rather than the team.
God forbid Bryant ever loses his intense competitive fire. The Cowboys desperately need it, and the NFL needs it, too.
However, if this supremely talented young receiver ever hopes to take the next step from superstar to all-time great, then he must learn to temper the raging storm of emotion inside himself and turn it into something positive.
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