Report: Dez Bryant Won't Play for Saints vs. Bengals, Could Debut vs. Eagles

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2018

PHILADELPHIA, PA - DECEMBER 31:  Wide receiver Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys looks on during warmups before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on December 31, 2017 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Dez Bryant finally found a home when he signed a one-year deal with the New Orleans Saints earlier this week, but he will reportedly have to wait to make his 2018 debut. 

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported that Bryant is not expected to play in Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals:

Tom Pelissero @TomPelissero

New #Saints WR Dez Bryant is expected to sit out Sunday‘s game vs. #Bengals. They want him to drop weight and he needs more than two practices to learn the offense, build chemistry, etc. Debut could come the following week vs. the #Eagles. @nflnetwork https://t.co/NisbE8tmZU

Bryant's debut could come in Week 11 when New Orleans hosts the Philadelphia Eagles on Nov. 18.

When asked about the possibility of playing just days after signing with the Saints, Bryant made it clear that he will do whatever coach Sean Payton asks.

"Whatever he has for me, I'm getting myself ready for it," the three-time Pro Bowl wideout said on Thursday, according to ESPN's Mike Triplett.

As of now, it appears as though Bryant won't be able to throw up the X this week, as he will reportedly be inactive. Pelissero noted that the lack of reps with quarterback Drew Brees is a factor, as well as the team's desire for the veteran to get into playing shape by shedding five pounds.

Bryant acknowledged to reporters, per Triplett, that he's had to knock "a little bit of the rust off" this week. After all, he had not been on an NFL roster since being released by the Dallas Cowboys in April. Even though he has eight years of NFL experience, there will be an adjustment period being away from the league for seven months.

The 30-year-old has not played in a game since Dec. 31, 2017.

Bryant, who has three 1,200-yard seasons to his name, is coming off a year in which he caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns. While that may be a far cry from his peak, that performance showed that he can still be big part of a passing attack.

New Orleans' offense has been dangerous this season even before adding Bryant to the mix. The passing attack ranks seventh overall with 289.9 yards per game, with the Saints ranking second in the league at 34.9 points per game. They have scored 30-plus points in six of their eight contests.

Meanwhile, Drew Brees has 18 touchdowns and just one interception.

New Orleans has won seven straight games after dropping its season opener, most recently handing the previously undefeated Los Angeles Rams their first loss of the season in Week 9, 45-35.

Bryant is itching to get on the field with his new team, but he will have to prove to Payton that he is ready to go. Of course, the former Cowboy has his eyes on Nov. 29, when the Saints make a trip to Dallas.