By every measure this offseason, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant has avoided the pitfalls -- namely the confluence of money, fame and poor judgment -- that plagued him in previous years. One of the league's most talented players, Bryant admitted to finding himself earlier this month.
“I'm comfortable with my life," he told ESPNDallas.com. "I'm enjoying being in the NFL. I wish it could've been a couple of years back, but I had to go through a couple of things to figure it out. I think I got it and I'm just more focused on my job and doing what I love to do, and that's playing football.”
But Bryant dutifully straddling the straight and narrow hasn't been a solitary endeavor. He's been on the receiving end of some advice from one of the planet's best athletes: Michael Jordan, whom Bryant met in February at the NBA All-Star Game in Houston. The two were initially introduced because Jordan wanted to sign Bryant to his Jordan Brand apparel line. Bryant, already an avid fan of Jordan's shoes, gladly accepted.
“The only thing he told me was ‘stay out of trouble,'” Bryant recalled, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Hearing it come from him, he is a strong voice. His opinion matters.”
Jordan's words struck a chord with Bryant.
“It just adds fuel to trying to do things great at all times, that's something you don't want to mess up,” the wide receiver said. “Now, I do pay attention to that, just because of the fact of who he is and what he is about. Everybody knows Michael Jordan is about his business, so that makes you want to be about yours.”
Still, Bryant insists he hasn't changed. Instead, he noted, "I'm not focusing on not trying to be in trouble. I'm just trying to do the right thing."