When the Dallas Cowboys drafted Dez Bryant with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Jerry Jones and company decided to give him the same number as a couple of Cowboys legends and see if he could live up to it.
He was, clearly, the most talented wide receiver the Cowboys had drafted since Michael Irvin, one of two Cowboys legends (along with Drew Pearson) to wear No. 88, and the Cowboys thought challenging him by giving him that number would lead to great things. It's fair to say Dez has lived up to the challenge and more.
Dez has been one of the best receivers in the NFL pretty much from the moment he stepped on the field, and that's continued throughout his career -- as long as he's been healthy. On Thursday night against the Vikings, Bryant had what had to be a pretty special moment: he caught the 65th touchdown pass of his NFL career, tying him with Irvin for second place on the Cowboys' all-time list.
Bryant and Irvin are extremely close (Irvin often refers to Bryant as his "son" when he talks about Bryant on TV), and during a postgame interview on NFL Network, Irvin congratulated Dez on tying him in touchdowns and admitted that Dez will blow past him very soon. Irvin could barely conceal his immense pride that Dez has become such a good player. It was a pretty cool moment.
Irvin also predicted that Dez will one day pass Bob Hayes and become the team's all-time leader as well. Dez might actually do that this season, if he has a big final stretch. Hayes had 71 touchdowns during his Cowboys career, so Dez is only six behind with four games to go.
For his part, Dez wasn't in much of a mood to celebrate his accomplishment. He cited Ezekiel Elliott's answer when asked about his chase of Eric Dickerson's all-time rookie rushing yards record, noting that the Cowboys have designs on bigger things than individual records this season. At 11-1 and on the verge of clinching a playoff berth (they clinch if Washington or Tampa Bay loses this weekend), that's a fair tact to take. Dez can celebrate later.