Dez Bryant says outburst just passion
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant described himself as a passionate player Wednesday and made no apologies for his emotional outburst on the sideline during last week's loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Television cameras caught Bryant, who was held without a reception for the first time in his NFL career, hollering and pointing at receivers coach Ray Sherman after being targeted on an incomplete pass on a third down early in the fourth quarter.
"That's the type of guy I am about football," Bryant said in his first comments since the loss. "I felt like there was nothing wrong [with his reaction]. I wasn't doing anything wrong. I felt like it was the game. It was the game bringing that out of me."
Bryant, who slipped to the 24th pick in the draft in large part due to concerns about his maturity, said he was upset because of miscommunication with quarterback Jon Kitna on the route. Bryant ran an out route, but Kitna threw the ball as if he expected Bryant to come back toward him.
Kitna took the blame for that miscommunication. He threw three more incompletions to Bryant in the fourth quarter, one of which was also an obvious miscommunication.
"I was wrong. He was right," Kitna said of the play that sparked Bryant's sideline rant. "The other one wasn't his fault. It was just nobody's fault. It happens. It happens in this league. There are a lot of things to go with being a rookie and all that stuff, but I was wrong and he was right."
Interim coach Jason Garrett said he had no issue with Bryant for expressing his frustration on the sideline. Garrett praised Bryant's competitiveness, which reminds the ex-Cowboys quarterback of former teammate Michael Irvin.
"I don't see that as a negative," Garrett said. "Obviously, with any player, you want to make sure that he's focused on the task at hand. In no way was it to me -- and I don't think to the offensive guys or anybody else on the team -- a distraction."
The Saints made Bryant a focus of their defensive scheme after he scored six receiving touchdowns in the previous six games. They often double-teamed him and disguised their coverages well.
However, Bryant said that the attention the Saints paid to him wasn't a factor in his frustration. He added that he recognized early in the game that he wouldn't have many opportunities to make plays because of the Saints' defensive scheme, which is fine by him if it allows teammates to get open.
"Me not touching the ball was not a factor," Bryant said. "I knew how they were playing me. There was nothing I could do about it. There was nothing anybody else could do about it except try to get through it."
Bryant stressed that his emotions weren't directed at any individual player or coach. He acknowledged being concerned that his outburst was misconstrued by the media.
Former Cowboys receiver Drew Pearson, a current ESPN 103.3 analyst who first brought Bryant's No. 88 to prominence in Dallas, was one of many to compare Bryant's actions on the sideline to those of Terrell Owens. Pearson said on the radio that he thought "that emotion was more individually oriented or individually based."
Bryant prefers the comparisons to Irvin.
"I'm emotional about everything," Bryant said. "That's what you've got to have. It's just like Coach Garrett tells us all the time in practice. There are three things to the game: emotion, passion and you've got to have enthusiasm. I felt like I have those things."