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FWST: CHAREAN WILLIAMS: Dallas Cowboys washout Antonio Bryant finds his place

Discussion in 'NFL Zone' started by Cbz40, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Cbz40

    Cbz40 The Grand Poobah

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    Dallas Cowboys washout Antonio Bryant finds his place

    By CHAREAN WILLIAMS
    cjwilliams@star-telegram.com




    [IMG]
    Chicago Tribune via MCT/Scott Strazzante
    Antonio Bryant caught 10 passes last week in a 27-24 overtime win over the Bears and Nathan Vasher. Chicago Tribune via MCT/Scott Strazzante

    Before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ exhibition game in August against the [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Miami [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Dolphins[/FONT][/FONT], Antonio Bryant found [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Bill [/FONT][/FONT][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]Parcells[/FONT][/FONT] and apologized. It’s been four years since Bryant tossed his jersey at Parcells in anger during a Dallas Cowboys’ spring workout at Valley Ranch.

    "I was able to apologize and be a man about it and move on," Bryant said last week in a telephone interview. "I felt great about that."

    Bryant, 27, is trying to get past his past.

    After the jersey-throwing incident, a trade, an arrest, a suspension, a release and a year out of [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]football[/FONT][/FONT], Bryant is getting yet another chance. He signed with the Bucs during the off-season and earned a starting job during training camp.

    "He was looking to get one more opportunity to show that he belongs in the league and what kind of man and receiver he can be," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said last week.

    Gruden called for 67 passes on 84 plays during last week’s overtime victory over the Bears. Bryant caught 10 of Brian Griese’s passes for 138 yards, including a 19-yarder to the Chicago 1 late in the fourth quarter that led to the tying touchdown and a 38-yarder to the Chicago 6 in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.

    Bryant was asked if, considering he sat out last season, he was tired.

    "When you don’t play football for a year, I don’t think I can get tired anymore," Bryant said. "I won’t allow myself to get tired. I’m just going to keep on pushing. I know what it feels like to not play for a year, knowing you’ve got what it takes to compete in this league. It’s just something that’s out of your control. I won’t allow anybody to take the opportunity away from me, definitely not myself."

    At times, Bryant has been his own worst enemy.

    Bryant, a second-round pick of the Cowboys in 2002, caught 83 passes for 1,283 yards and eight touchdowns his first two seasons in Dallas. But the Cowboys traded him to Cleveland for Quincy Morgan six games into the 2004 season and only four months after the jersey-throwing incident.

    In 2006, while playing for the San Francisco [FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif][FONT=arial,helvetica,sans-serif]49ers[/FONT][/FONT], Bryant was arrested in San Mateo, Calif., on charges of reckless driving. (He later was sentenced to one year of probation and a $1,312 fine after pleading no contest.) Bryant received a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy with two games remaining in the 2006 season.

    The 49ers, who had signed him to a four-year, $14 million deal before the 2006 season, released him. No one signed him for 2007, knowing he still had part of a suspension to serve.

    "I do think I would have had many opportunities [had I not been suspended]," Bryant said. "I probably would have even had an opportunity to come back to Dallas."

    Bryant also has had some bad luck. He went through a coaching change in Dallas (from Dave Campo to Parcells), had three coaches in Cleveland (Butch Davis, interim Terry Robiskie and Romeo Crennel) and didn’t hit it off with Mike Nolan in San Francisco. He had a 1,000-yard season in Cleveland, but the Browns chose not to re-sign him with first-round pick Braylon Edwards coming back from a knee injury and Joe Jurevicius having signed as a free agent.

    Bryant has not had a Pro Bowl quarterback, either, catching passes from Chad Hutchinson, Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer, Charlie Frye and Alex Smith. He now plays with Griese and Jeff Garcia.

    "There are some things I could have done better," said Bryant, who still owns a home in Dallas, "but there are a lot of things that were out of my control."

    Yet, Bryant, as he accurately points out, is one of the most productive receivers in the 2002 draft class.

    Bryant was the 10th receiver drafted that year, but, compared to the other nine, his 263 receptions rank second only to Ashley Lelie (311) and Donté Stallworth (279), his 4,018 yards are second only to Stallworth (4,213) and his 19 touchdowns trail only Stallworth (31) and Javon Walker (30).

    Bryant, who is with his fourth team in his seventh season, might finally be with the right team at the right time. The Bucs are 2-1, and Bryant has 13 catches for 181 yards.

    "I’m not going to sit here and preach that I’m a good guy, and I’m a changed man," Bryant said. "I have an understanding of what’s going on, and I’m better prepared to help myself in situations, whereas before, you do a lot of things not thinking."


    Charean Williams, 817-390-7760
  2. sago1

    sago1 Active Member

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    Really wished he had worked out for us. Just too bad he was his own worst enemy. Sounds like not playing football for a year, finally got his attention. Wonder if he approached the Cowboys before signing with the Bucs. Anyway, I expect him to play as hard as he can against us when we face them later in October in Dallas.

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