In the heat of the moment, emotions sometimes get the best of you. On Sunday, Dallas Cowboys star wide receiver Dez Bryant reportedly got into an on-field fracas with teammate J.J. Wilcox during a team scrimmage.
Bryant took exception to a hard hit over the middle, as per Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
First real fight of camp. Dez vs Wilcox. Wilcox popped Dez after a catch. Dez didn't like it, walked in face. Wilcox started throwing blows— Clarence Hill (@clarencehilljr) August 3, 2014
TXA 21 in Fort Worth captured a couple of screen shots of the scuffle:
Ryan Gerbosi of The Dallas Morning News provided video of the fight:
Tension between the two didn't last long, though. According to Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News, after Jason Witten got Bryant to settle down, the wideout caught a touchdown pass and made peace with Wilcox:
Witten was only one able to calm Dez. A couple plays later, Dez gave a nod to Wilcox as if to say we're good. Then Dez caught another TD.— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) August 3, 2014
“I got a good little cheap shot in,” Wilcox said. “That’s the spark you need. I am trying to feed off it and get my defense right.”
“J.J. put a nice hit on me,” the receiver said. “He pissed me off, but at the end of the day, I loved it. I told him, ‘Keep it coming.’ Hopefully the rest of the guys on that defense – not only the defense, but the offense and the whole team – feed off of that. That’s what it takes to win. That’s what we need to win. You’ve got to have that passion and that love for the game.”
Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News added more:
Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant on why he always talks trash: "I want the best. I want your best. It’s all about, don’t accept defeat."— Brandon George (@DMN_George) August 4, 2014
Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant on what he said to J.J. Wilcox in heat of moment after taking big hit: "I wanted him. He pissed me off."— Brandon George (@DMN_George) August 4, 2014
With most NFL stars, this would simply be brushed aside. Players push and shove all the time after a play is over; it's somewhat to be expected in a physical game like football.
However, since Bryant was involved, some critics might use it as ammunition in suggesting that his attitude remains a problem. The MMQB's Robert Klemko alluded to as much on Twitter:
Such an incredible receiving day for Dez Bryant before and after the fight with JJ Wilcox. Guy can do everything but keep his cool.— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 3, 2014
Most can agree that while this altercation will likely be overblown to a certain extent in the coming days, Bryant and Wilcox have to be smarter than to get involved in shenanigans like this in training camp.
Bryant, 25, is one of the best wide receivers in the league and is primed for what should be his best year yet. Meanwhile, the 23-year-old Wilcox figures to have a bigger role after playing in 13 games last season as a rookie.
Bryant doesn't need more drama—no matter how minor—clouding his on-field accomplishments. Furthermore, neither player needs to risk any kind of injury that might result from such actions.
With their defense a major question mark heading into the 2014 season, the Cowboys' success will hinge on the rapport Bryant and Tony Romo establish through the air. Bryant must be one of Dallas' offensive catalysts in order for the team to have any chance of making the postseason.