Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is coming off his breakout season after hauling in 92 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns, and we haven't heard his name mentioned in a negative connotation in quite a while.
But Bryan Broaddus, formerly a scout, told 105.3 FM The Fan last week, via the Dallas Morning News that Bryant's predraft profile wasn't so positive. That probably shouldn't be a surprise -- and certainly shouldn't have led Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland to ask about his mother's occupation -- but still, it must have been troubling for anybody thinking about drafting him in 2010.
“The worst I had ever seen of a background is the kid Dez Bryant,” Broaddus said. “When you look at what he went through and then you're talking about these players, and it's hard for them to get away from these people in their lives because these people have been with them when they were nothing, when they were nobodies. All of a sudden you're thinking, ‘OK, I'm going to turn my back on my three buddies here. I have to change, but they ain't changing.' I think if Dez Bryant was playing in St. Louis or Baltimore or Seattle, I think the fact that his family is here with him, I think that was a really hard adjustment for him. Hopefully from what we've seen, he's managing that well. That's the important thing.”
As NFL.com points out, "Bryant was raised by a single, often absentee mother who spent 18 months in prison for selling crack cocaine. He grew up impoverished and without direction, which explains his 'lack of life skills' and ignorance of basic adult responsibilities entering the NFL."
Since entering the league, Bryant has had problems keeping his pants up at a mall, paying off his jewelry bills and not fighting with his mother. But Bryant seems to have changed for the better in the past year. That doesn't mean the Cowboys should relax, though.
“On Dez … that's the thing as a personnel guy,” Broaddus said. “You wake up. You don't sleep at night. And when you wake up, you're thinking did he go off the reservation today. That was something that we had to deal with. You deal with, OK, what happened, check TMZ, nothing happened, OK, we're good for a day. You're constantly worrying about players because they get put in terrible situations, sometimes by their own doing.”
But Bryant said in May that he feels more comfortable with his life, and perhaps that's contributing to his development.
“I'm enjoying being in the NFL," he said in May. "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.”
And he wants to play it at an extremely high level -- as in 2,000 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns.