Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chances grow slimmer with each slip-up by Dez - Fort Worth Star Telegram

engel DALLAS - In one of the small rooms of the law offices of Mr. Royce West is an aging framed autographed poster of a former Dallas Cowboy. The autograph reads: "To Royce: Thanks for all the help with the hard things & most of all thanks for the friendship. Playmaker #88"

It ends with Michael Irvin's signature.In the adjacent room of this third-floor office on Tuesday afternoon walked in Mr. West, Dez Bryant and Dez Bryant's mother for a news conference.This was really was nothing more than a reading in response to the recent domestic dispute between Dez and his mother; his mother is not pressing charges, and is asking the DeSoto Police not to pursue the matter."Did a family disagreement occur? Yes," West read from his own prepared statement. "Did Dez Bryant commit family violence against his mother? No."West finished reading the statement that had been handed to the media gathered, and promptly left without taking a question. No comment regarding a potential NFL suspension, which is what you really care about.Both Royce West and the Dallas Cowboys once made a choice to deal with the many "hard things" that Irvin dealt with in his career because there was proven production.Both West and the Dallas Cowboys are making a choice to deal with the hard things that Dez Byrant is dealing with based primarily on potential.Dez better be careful. Unless he gets his stuff together on the field this season and establishes himself as a proven producer, both West and the Dallas Cowboys are apt to move on.Despite the obvious ability, at some point all of this drama is not worth it."You can be a good person and make mistakes. You can be squeaky clean on the outside and not be a good person," said Dez's former college coach, Mike Gundy of Oklahoma State, on Tuesday at the Big 12 media day when I asked him if Dez was a good guy."He's a good person," Gundy added. "He's not making good decisions and he's in an environment where he's making mistakes. And at some point he'll have to grow through it or he's going to run out of chances. As long as he has another chance, he's going to have the opportunity to clean it up."The Cowboys are going to give Dez that opportunity in 2012 for sure. For one, they need him.If in this season the production doesn't match the talent, and there is another off-the-field migraine, do not be surprised if head coach Jason Garrett starts pressing his GM to look for alternatives.Red is like any coach who wants talent because talent wins, but eventually the headache trumps the talent. Jerry Jones' threshold for questionable behavior from his employees might be like that of a pirate ship captain, but it is not in Red's DNA to suffer a fool for as long.Believe Tony Romo to Sean Lee when they so publicly support Dez, as they have done in recent days. Dez is a likeable young man. On the football field, Dez wants it. He doesn't avoid contact, or plays, or anything. He can help Romo and Lee win games.Some of Dez's "hard things," however, have to stop.Or at least stop until Dez has a 1,300-yard receiving season, strings together some 100-yard receiving games, wins a game by himself, earns a Pro Bowl invite, and the Cowboys actually win a playoff game.The Dallas Cowboys are beginning to see why Deion Sanders so publicly dropped his mentor role to Dez a couple of years ago.The problem isn't Dez the football player. It's the other stuff. The maturity chip just hasn't kicked in, and the reality is it might not.Tuesday was not about football but rather to project an image of solidarity on the Bryant home front. Sincerely hope there is. Even if the altercation between Dez and his mother is the result of two emotional people overreacting and ultimately not worthy of a 911 call, violence in the home isn't a punch line.It is also a private deal.What is more of a public domain issue is Dez the adult, and whether Dez can become a professional who conducts his career without all of this off-the-field drama.Right now there is no reason to believe he can and that, like Irvin, more "hard things" are coming for Dez.If things don't change there will be no Dez Bryant autographed poster in the law offices of Mr. Royce West.Mac Engel, 817-390-7697Twitter: @MacEngelProf

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