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Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett compares Dez Bryant to Michael Irvin

Cowboys' head coach Jason Garrett compares Dez Bryant to Michael Irvin The Cowboys grabbed Dez Bryant with the 24th pick in the 2010 draft, which seems like a steal now. (Greg Nelson/SI)

A lot of Cowboys fans were upset when, coming into the league, wide receiver Dez Bryant was allowed to wear 88, the number that legendary Dallas wideout Michael Irvin made famous while helping lead the team to three Super Bowl championships in the early '90s.

Well, in the first four years of his career, Bryant has proved indeed worthy of the number, amassing 293 catches for 4,104 yards and 40 touchdowns. Those statistics are vastly better than Irvin's over the same span in his career, where he only grabbed 171 balls for 2,968 yards and 20 scores.

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That's why it should come as no shock that Dallas head coach, Jason Garrett, who played with Irvin for a lot of those years in the '90s as he backed up Troy Aikman, sees a lot of the same attributes in Bryant that Irvin had.

"I have a great fondness for Michael Irvin. I had the good fortune of playing with Michael for eight years," Garrett said via NFL.com. "Michael Irvin set the pace and the tempo for our team all throughout the '90s. He worked harder than anybody else. And Dez Bryant has a lot of those same traits."

Bryant recently has expressed his opinion that he should be one of the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL, and he'd like to have a deal done before the season begins.

Numbers like he's put up through the first four years of his career certainly make a good case for him to get that deal.

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