The Beckett Blog


An Exclusive Interview with Dallas Cowboys Receiver Dez Bryant by Tracy Hackler

FIRST IN A CONTINUING SERIES OF EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEWS WITH THE TOP 2010 NFL ROOKIES

By Tracy Hackler and Jon Gold

Most pre-draft buzz pegged Dez Bryant as a guy with top-five skills and a Mr. Insignificant attitude. Still, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made no bones about wanting him. That Jones got his man – he seemingly always does – means that Bryant landed on football’s most collected team. That, of course, sent Bryant immediately ascending to the top of the rookie hobby heap.

But then he goes and suffers the dreaded high ankle sprain early in training camp and essentially goes undetected all summer by all but the most astute collectors or Cowboys fans.

That’s all about to change in a big way.

Bryant is ridiculously talented and really, really good. Certainly he’s too good to be lugging Roy Williams’ shoulder pads around and at some point sooner rather than later, he’ll be too good not to be in Dallas’ starting lineup.

The former Oklahoma State standout only improves an already-stacked offense that also includes Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Felix Jones and Marion Barber.

Even without the benefit of a full training camp, Bryant is an early favorite – along with San Diego’s Ryan Mathews – for Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. Hot List appearances later this season are virtually guaranteed.

Did you ever collect trading cards?
When I was younger I did. I had to have that Randy Moss card. I had to have that Cris Carter card. I had to have Troy Aikman. I was a big Dallas Cowboys fan growing up – and man, I’m with the Cowboys. I have my own Rookie Cards, so it’s great.

My grandfather was a collector, actually. He had tons of cards, and he would always throw me a foil pack every now and then. But he would always tell me to never open them. He never opened his. He has all those complete sets, without being opened. I’m in line to get those eventually.

Was today here at the NFL Players Rookie Premiere when you knew you “made it?”
Starting off in high school – and not only high school, but Pop Warner – football has been my life since day one. When I was in school I put football first. I wasn’t thinking about cards, I just loved football so much. It’s come to this point, and I’m enjoying every bit of it.

Are you shocked by the value of some of these cards?
It really is crazy. All of us worked hard, and we deserve it. But at the same time, there’s this love for the game. It’s exciting for you to say that, that our cards are worth that much money and we haven’t even played a down yet.

How much would you pay for your own card?
Even though it’s me, I’d pay everything for it.

Do you feel a sense of responsibility in terms of the marketing aspect? Do you enjoy signing autographs for kids?
It’s a great feeling for a little kid. At one point in time, I was also in his shoes. I had that Randy Moss card, and nobody was taking it. That was mine. I looked up to the guy, and now following his footsteps in the NFL, I felt like that made me become the player I became today. Hopefully, the same little kid who picks up my card can do the same.

Any of your fellow rookies whose autograph you want to get?
I know the guy, and there’s only one guy. Colt McCoy. He’s a great quarterback. I thought he was one of the top players in the draft. I wouldn’t mind having his card. I would pay big bucks to have it. He’s going to be one of the best in this league.

Any card in particular that you wanted that you didn’t get?
I wanted a Bo Jackson card, even though he was a little bit before I was playing. My grandfather had one, and that was always the one I really, really wanted.

What do you think of your cards selling for the same, if not more than, cards of Jim Brown, Dan Marino and Joe Montana cards? What does it say about the collector?
It’s an honor, if anything. It’s different than anything I’ve done. It’s crazy for sure, but I’ve been there, too. I’m still in awe of guys. A Jim Brown jersey, 300 bucks? I’d want it. To be on their level – wait, I’m not saying by any means I’m on their level! – but value-wise, is wild. Things selling for that much is crazy.

Some guys, like a Taylor Price, are relatively unknown quantities, not really established names yet. You come in with tremendous name recognition; do you still think you have to prove yourself to collectors?
I think you always have to prove your value. If you’re higher-profile out of college then you automatically have more value going into it, but you have to go out there and play. You can only continue to add value if you play well. You have to prove yourself, that’s for sure.

If you could appear on a trading card with one player, past or present, who would it be?
I was thinking Bo Jackson again. That would be so sweet. I played baseball and football of course, and I think that would be a sweet picture. Me and Bo with the bat and shoulder pads, side-by-side. That would be pretty sweet.

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1 Comment so far
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“Bryant is ridiculously talented and really, really good”

now that is some hard hitting journalism! thanks for your insight and expertise. you just don’t get that kind of writing outside of elementary school

Comment by President Obama




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