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Cowboys Exec: Dez Bryant's Inability to Win 1-on-1s Partially Led to Release

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 2, 2018

FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2017, file photo, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) runs against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of an NFL football game in Oakland, Calif. Bryant opened up in his first lengthy session with reporters in weeks, taking responsibility for a subpar season by saying he let frustrations affect him during games. But he also said some of those frustrations were rooted in the offensive scheme, which he said he would probably address with owner Jerry Jones and coaches in the offseason. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
Eric Risberg/Associated Press

Dallas Cowboys Assistant Director of Player Personnel Will McClay explained Tuesday the rationale behind releasing wide receiver Dez Bryant.

According to Clarence E. Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram, McClay cited a drop-off in play during an interview for ESPN 103.3 FM: "It was a collective deal. The [inability] to win one-on-one, to win downfield. There was inconsistency as well as some huge things in his play. So what's best moving forward for Dez Bryant [and] the Cowboys, we just made that decision. It's a production-based business."

Dallas released Bryant on April 13 after eight seasons with the team.

McClay added, "You have to make a decision to make sure you succeed and hold that trophy up."

The 29-year-old Bryant is coming off three down years after registering at least 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns from 2012 to 2014. He appeared in all 16 games last season, but he finished with just 69 receptions for 838 yards and six touchdowns.

The three-time Pro Bowler hasn't reached 1,000 yards or 10 touchdowns since 2014.

Bryant was once considered one of the NFL's premier downfield threats, but he was limited to a career-low 12.1 yards per catch in 2017. The former Oklahoma State standout also never seemed to click with quarterback Dak Prescott after he took over for Tony Romo as the starting signal-caller in 2016.

Bryant is the top free-agent receiver on the open market despite his recent struggles, and he remains available after reportedly turning down a multiyear offer from the Baltimore Ravens.

With the franchise's all-time leader in touchdown catches out of the fold, the Cowboys will rely on Terrance Williams, Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, Deonte Thompson and rookie third-round pick Michael Gallup at wideout.

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