IRVING, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys are trying to provide some guidance for Dez Bryant, the talented young receiver who has had issues off the field.
Coach Jason Garrett wouldn’t go into specifics Monday or describe potential discipline for not abiding by the rules, but he said the Cowboys (No. 15 in AP Pro32) want to support Bryant and his family.
“What we’ve tried to do is come up with a plan for Dez like we would for any player who we feel like needs our support, and help him be his best as a player and as a person,” Garrett said. “And the accountability factor is an important part of that with him and with anybody on our football team.”
According to numerous reports, Bryant will attend weekly counseling sessions, have a full-time security team and not be allowed to consume alcohol or attend strip clubs. The security members will drive Bryant to team functions, including practices and games, and the receiver will also be subject to a curfew.
Bryant was arrested in July for allegedly assaulting his mother, who has since said she doesn’t want authorities to pursue charges against him. The Dallas County district attorney’s office has yet to make a decision about misdemeanor family violence charges.
There is still the chance that the NFL could discipline Bryant, who is going into his third season with the Cowboys.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Associated Press in an email Monday that the league “will review the facts once the case is resolved by the court.” He said the team’s guidelines for Bryant will have nothing to do with league discipline.
“We’re going to control what we can control as an organization, and Dez has done everything that we’ve asked him to do up to this point both on and off the football field,” Garrett said. “Any decision about that is out of our control.”
Despite other off-the-field issues in the past, Bryant was having a solid offseason until his arrest two weeks before the start of training camp. Bryant’s adviser, David Wells, and the player’s attorney, Royce West, didn’t return messages to the AP.
“We have some things in place and we are still in the process of working out the rest,” Wells told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in a story published Monday. “We are all working together to accomplish some things to help him succeed.”
Bryant hasn’t been available to speak to reporters since the start of training camp because of his pending legal issues. He didn’t talk in the locker room after practice Monday.
In 2008, the Cowboys had a security detail in place for Adam “Pacman” Jones, who had missed all of the previous season with Tennessee and was coming off a 17-month NFL suspension because of repeated legal troubles. Six weeks after being reinstated by the NFL, Jones was involved in an alcohol-related scuffle with one of his bodyguards at a private party in Dallas and was suspended for six games. He was cut by the Cowboys after the season.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones waited a couple of weeks after Bryant was arrested, and a couple of days after the team got to California for training camp, to talk with Bryant. The owner, who called it a serious situation, said he was disappointed and didn’t want to be emotional when talking to Bryant.
Jones said then that Bryant had already been involved in the team’s counseling program.
Bryant surrendered to authorities July 16, two days after his mother, Angela, made a 911 call about the alleged assault. The 23-year-old receiver is only 14 years younger than she is.
There had been some trouble for Bryant even before the Cowboys drafted Bryant with the 24th overall pick in 2010.
Bryant missed nearly his entire last college season at Oklahoma State because of an NCAA suspension for lying about having dinner with Deion Sanders. He ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills on game tickets and jewelry, and was sued by people who said they were creditors.
Last year, he was kicked out of an upscale Dallas mall for wearing sagging pants. In January, he was reportedly involved in a fight with the rapper Lil Wayne at a Miami nightclub.
Bryant said during the offseason that he was spending more time with the playbook, watching more film and concentrating on his conditioning. There were no issues until the incident with his mother, and haven’t been any known problems since then.
During the early portion of practice Monday open to reporters, Bryant was initially catching some passes from backup quarterback Rudy Carpenter. Bryant, who has been dealing with right knee tendinitis, then did some rehab work with a trainer alongside tight end Jason Witten (spleen).
Bryant and the most of the Cowboys starters aren’t expected to play in Wednesday night’s preseason finale against Miami. That comes a week before their regular-season opener at the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants.
Teammate Marcus Spears said the guidelines were between Bryant and team ownership, but that he was “pretty sure” they were on the same page.
“Whatever they’re doing, they’re doing the right things,” backup quarterback Kyle Orton said. “He’s a special player. He’s one of those guys, you find ways to get him the ball. … You want to give him a lot of touches because one of those touches is going to be a special play, and there’s very few of those guys around.”
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