Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant: New contract won't change me
Bryant signed a five-year, $70 million contract extension, with $45 million guaranteed, just hours before the July 15 deadline for teams to sign players who were given the franchise tag.
"It's no pressure, man," Bryant said during a nearly 30-minute session with the media. “It's no pressure. That deal don't make me. It don't make me. I play this game because I love this game. I don't give a damn about none of that. It's not going to change the way I play. It's not going to change the way I act."
Bryant had threatened to miss the team's training camp and sit out regular-season games if he did not get the deal he wanted. He would have forfeited more than $750,000 for each regular-season game he missed.
“I stood by that,” he said. “It would have killed me but I stood by that. I had to.”
Bryant did participate in individual drills during off-season team activities and showed up on the sidelines during the last day of minicamp, but did not practice. He says he is happy to be back with the team as the Cowboys opened training camp Thursday in Oxnard, Calif.
"I'm glad that it got done," Bryant said. "I'm excited I'm back with my teammates, and I think the beautiful thing about it all is it doesn't feel brand new. That's great. I'm glad that it's the same."
Bryant, 26, caught 88 passes for 1,320 yards and a league-leading 16 touchdowns last season, earning AP first-team All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors. He has caught at least 85 passes in each of the last three seasons.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo says he sees a more mature Bryant grow over the years.
"He's come a long way since he first stepped on the field here, and I think it's exciting to see his growth as a player, as a person. He's like a little brother to me,” Romo said.
The defending NFC East champions open the season on Sept. 13 in a Sunday night game against the New York Giants.
- Scooby Axson