Dez Bryant was once a Pro Bowler, a First-Team All-Pro, and considered one of the up-and-coming stars in the NFL. However, after a disappointing final season in Dallas, Bryant was cut.
After that, he signed over in New Orleans, where he quickly suffered a torn Achilles tendon and missed the entire 2018 season. It’s a far cry from the Bryant everyone saw just a couple of years earlier.
With his career in limbo, it’s time to look back at a better time for Bryant, where he made a name for himself with his ridiculous athleticism and penchant for highlight plays.
The 2013 season was a breakout year for Dez Bryant. Although he had begun to make a name for himself during his first three years, it was this fourth season that officially made him a star. Bryant proved to be a nightmare for defenses, amassing 93 receptions and 1,223 yards, averaging out to 13.3 receiving yards per reception.
Over the course of the season, Bryant got a then career-high 13 touchdowns, and while he may have failed to reach the All-NFL team, he made his first of three Pro Bowl appearances, all in his first season as a full-time starter from the beginning of the season to the end. It is easy to see why hopes were high for Bryant leading into his fifth year, but would he be able to match his success?
Dez Bryant was on a tear for the 2014 NFL season although he finished the season with five fewer receptions than he did the previous year, he finished the season with 87 more receiving yards than he did in 2013 with 1,320.
He also amassed 16 touchdowns, a career-high mark which eventually led to him being selected to his second Pro Bowl and his first and only inclusion on the NFL’s First-Team All-Pro.
At just 26, many thought that this would be Dez Bryant’s entrance into his prime, but since this year, Bryant was unable to recreate the magic of that season.
What happened to Dez Bryant?
Dez Bryant missed just under half the 2015 season with bone grafts, which inhibited his ability to recreate the previous season’s magic. Although his 2016 season brought him another Pro Bowl berth, Bryant was targeted less and had only half the touchdowns that he had during his All-Pro season. He continued to regress until he was eventually out of the league.
When talking about his disappointing state, Bryant has blamed trying to play through injuries with his regression on the field. In a world where playing through injury is often encouraged and praised as an act of toughness, the results of doing so irresponsibly can have lingering impacts that hurt your long-term future.
What’s next for Dez Bryant?
Despite last year’s injury setback, Bryant still wants to play professional football, and some teams have expressed interest, even if he hasn’t yet been signed while training camp is going on. Teams will have to be cautious, as will Bryant. Just as he stated that playing injuries had a negative effect, the Achilles is one that requires lots of care and rehab to come back from.
However, if he can come back, there could be suitors. Whether he gets the chance he missed last year in New Orleans or helps fill out the depth of a team like the New York Giants or Green Bay Packers, Bryant could be ready for a comeback tour.
However, if he does not ever get the next shot, Bryant still had some star years that he can look back positively on. While nobody wants to see a career end this way, Bryant was able to reach heights many never get the opportunity to reach.