Dez Bryant has received a lot of media attention since joining the league in 2010 after being drafted by the Cowboys in the first round with their 24th pick. Whether it is really warranted or not is another question.
With the team he plays for being the Dallas Cowboys, and the fact that Bryant's personality makes him stand out, the receiver has a lot of eyes on him.
In fact, the Dallas Cowboys' 2014 season ended with all eyes on Dez Bryant with his controversial catch against the Green Bay Packers, and he has been in the news headlines ever since.
His most recent newsworthy act is, though, more positive that many of the stories that have surfaced in the past. Dez Bryant again showed up in the headlines when it was reported that he made an appearance during the Dallas Cowboys organized team activities (OTAs) on Thursday.
The OTAs are completely voluntary and Bryant is under no obligation to attend any of the Cowboys practices until he either signs his franchise tag or works out a long-term contract with the Cowboys.
Bryant receives a lot of negative attention and is often criticized for his passionate outburst on the sideline during games, but on Thursday he showed a different side of his character and it's time that fans and the media start to take notice.
Bryant's teammates and coaches have nothing but good things to say about the way he prepares and the type of competitor is in both practices and games.
His teammates have even openly expressed how much they would enjoy having him there for practices:
"Obviously when you have him it makes things a little bit easier," quarterback Tony Romo said. "Tell him to come back."
Bryant's ears must've been burning because he showed up for the next practice of OTAs.
Bryant's passion for the game is obvious and all of his teammates and coaches know that he would be out there with them if not for the business side of the NFL and the lack of a contract.
"Dez is a competitor and he not only loves to play but he loves to practice," wide receiver coach Derek Dooley said.
"He loves being out there with the team. I know he misses his teammates. I know he misses being here, but that's part of the deal.I think everybody understands it."
Dez Bryant's absence allows other receivers like Terrence Williams and Devin Street to receive more repetitions with the first-team offense and to try to gain the trust of quarterback Tony Romo.
Nevertheless, it is difficult for Bryant to stay away.
"He has been in and out at different times," said head coach Jason Garrett. "Obviously, he's working on the business part of his contract,working through this franchise player tag. "
"We've been in communication with him. He's been in communication with his teammates. He seems to be in great shape whenever we've seen him."
One thing is for sure, Bryant isn't one of those players that is using the off-season to hold out in hopes of securing a long-term deal. He is simply a victim of the business part of the NFL and it remains to be seen if a long-term deal can be reached before the July 15 deadline that teams have to work out long-term contracts.
Otherwise, the Cowboys and as Bryant will have to wait until the 2015 season is completed.
What makes signing Dez to a long-term contract difficult is the market value for young elite wide receivers is difficult to determine.
Julio Jones, AJ Green, Demaryius Thomas, and Dez Bryant are all wide receivers who are looking for a new long-term contract. With the market value for the wide receiver position undetermined it makes the signing of these players that much more difficult.
Keeping in touch
Dez has been accused of being a diva and wanting to be paid as a top wide receiver in the NFL, and that may be true, but once one of these other receivers are signed the Cowboys will probably be quick to follow suit locking up Bryant's services for years to come.
No matter what happens with Bryant's contract situation, everyone should be pleased with seeing him stay in contact not only with the Cowboys organization, but with his teammates.
When the Dallas Cowboys 2015 season starts you can bet that Bryant will be taking the field with his teammates, but ready to prove he is among the best wide receivers in the NFL.
Do you think Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys will be able to reach a long-term contract before the July 15 deadline?