Dez Bryant is back in the NFL. A legend of the Dallas Cowboys thanks to his record-setting career in North Texas, Bryant has been without a job following his release from the club in 2017. The former first-round pick immediately signed on with the New Orleans Saints but suffered a torn Achilles and has been out of the league since. That's true no longer, with the Baltimore Ravens reportedly having signed him to their practice squad on Tuesday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Needless to say, it's been an emotional journey for Bryant, whose feelings are now pouring out.
"My emotions running high right now," he said, via Twitter. "I'm thankful. I can't stop crying."
It's been a winding road for Bryant to get to Baltimore, but it's finally come together. The three-time Pro Bowl receiver initially got a multi-year offer from the Ravens in 2017, but instead opted to sign the aforementioned one-year deal with the Saints, citing his wish to re-establish himself as one of the best in the league before committing to a long-term deal with an NFL team. In August ahead of the 2020 season, the Ravens would revisit signing Bryant, flying him in for a workout that didn't immediately yield an offer.
Now, in October, he's one passed physical away from finally suiting up for the Ravens practice squad, putting him one nod away from being on the team's active roster at a moment's notice.
"[The Ravens] didn't want that [version of] Dez Bryant," he wrote this past January in response to a Ravens fan who pointed out the previous multi-year offer. "I wasn't there mentally."
He is now though, and despite his wish to return "home" to the Cowboys, he also listed the Ravens as one of three "dream" destinations in his bid to return to the NFL.
"My dream goals: I want to suit up in the blue and silver, the black and gold or black and purple," he said.
That dream has now come true, and Bryant is looking forward to proving he still has tread on his tires for a team with the reigning league MVP at quarterback. A tandem of Bryant and Lamar Jackson could be an exciting one, and the signing also likely puts Baltimore out of any consideration for Antonio Brown, whom Jackson lobbied for previously. Bryant doesn't bring the baggage Brown would, and if he's even remotely close to form, this could be a steal for the Ravens.
Bryant departed the Cowboys after racking up 7,459 yards and a franchise-best 73 touchdowns, and he grabbed 838 yards with six touchdowns on his way out the door. He'll need to knock off some rust, no doubt, but the Ravens like what he might still bring to the table three years after initially trying to make him one of their weapons.
The Ravens will face the Cowboys on Dec. 3, and that matchup just became that much more interesting.