With all the talent that Dez Bryant showed during his college years at Oklahoma State and his decision to don the historic No. 88 jersey in Dallas, it seemed he was destined to become great.
Unfortunately for Bryant and the Cowboys faithful, while he has shown off his talent at times, it has been mixed in with off-the-field issues. Through his first three NFL seasons, the Dallas wide receiver has gotten into a physical altercation with his mother, had a certain set of rules established by the team for him to follow and now must take anger management classes.
His physical ability and mental lapses have now begun to raise the question if Bryant is destined to become the next Terrell Owens and not Michael Irvin or Drew Pearson.
It's understandable to make the T.O. connection considering Bryant's off-the-field issues being a distraction. That however doesn't mean the players have the same kind of mentality.
Owens is a deserved future Hall of Fame player but he bounced from team to team for a reason. The former 49er, Eagle and Cowboy left those clubs after conflicts arose between himself and his quarterbacks.
To his credit, Bryant has never had a reported incident between himself and any of his fellow Cowboys. The current Dallas player is not a locker-room issue in terms of creating inner conflict but rather conflicts in his personal life.
Bryant agreed to those rules set up back in August with the team and has now agreed to take classes to better himself to prevent conflicts from arising in the future. He's clearly making an attempt to stop these off-the-field issues early in his career. Trying to stop incidents is something that T.O. took too long to do in his career.
As far as comparing their talent, that is where these two receivers have the most in common. Bryant has the chance to reach Owens' level of talent sometime down the road in his career.
In fact, when you compare the first two seasons of these players’ careers, Bryant actually caught three more touchdown passes than Owens over that time period. T.O. caught 12 through his first two years in San Francisco where Bryant had 15 from 2010-2011.
In terms of receiving yards, the two are close to dead even through their first two NFL years. Both recorded over 500 their first year and more than 900 their second.
Owens was known for his physicality with his opposing cornerback; he created separation early on and became a well-known deep threat. Bryant can also be described as physical, and Tony Romo has looked for him down the field often over the years.
Bryant has shown an inability to reel in catches at times, something that Owens had trouble with as well during his time in Dallas. That's something that Bryant can fix over time and still has plenty of time to do so.
When looking at the talent of Owens and Bryant, the current Cowboy has the ability to reach the great heights that the former did during his career. No. 88 is working towards minimizing off-the-field issues, which could be the key to reaching that next level on the field.
Only time will tell if Bryant can better his personal life but in terms of on-field talent and production, he will become as dominant as Owens if that happens.