Dez Bryant Should Not Play: It’s a Franchise Decision


When news broke about Dez Bryant’s injured finger Cowboy fans everywhere knew exactly what that meant for the Dallas Cowboys 2012 season. The maturation of Dez has perfectly coincided with the success of the offense. In recent weeks, Dez has filled the role Miles Austin was supposed to – The playmaker. Dez is a necessary part of this team. Without him the post season is seemingly an impossible goal.

Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett walks with wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Now we hear, although he may suffer permanent damage as a result, he could possibly play through the injury.  You see, injuries and specifically breaks to the fingers and toes need to be repaired immediately. If they do not heal correctly they risk not regaining their strength, straightness, and flexibility. Hey, this is no big deal for a lineman. If you ever have the fortune of shaking a retired lineman’s hand sneak a peek down to check out his paw. It looks like a train wreck –each finger going its own independent direction. But for those who handle the ball, straightness, strength, and flexibility is a big deal. Dez has very soft hands. It’s one of the things that make him great. A poorly healed index finger would impact his catching ability and playmaking ability.

Let’s look at the situation shall we?

To make the playoffs the Cowboys need to win their last three games against some pretty good teams. Not only that but they also need help from other teams meaning the Cowboys don’t even control their own destiny. Odds say what? The Cowboys have a 20% chance of making the playoffs? 30%? Whatever it is, statistically speaking, the Cowboys are not likely going to make the playoffs.  So why in hades are the Cowboys prepared to risk Dez Bryant’s future for this longshot?

If you know the answer to that I’d like to hear it. Dez Bryant has established himself as a top receiver in this league. The sky is the limit and everyone knows it. Why then would the Cowboys risk playing Dez at the expense of possibly permanently damage his catching ability? Especially after Garrett said on Monday Dez’s playing status will be a “medical decision first and foremost”.

Nov 18, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) points to a fan before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

But wait! We can’t blame the Cowboys because now it’s Dez’s decision to make whether he plays or not. Classy. Really classy guys. What’s Dez supposed to do? Is this young, immature, competitive, impulsive 24 year old really expected to think long term?

What part of Dez makes you think, “Ya know what? I think we should leave this critical and extremely consequential decision to Dez Bryant instead of the experts and seasoned leadership. I’m sure he’ll make the right call.”

In a completely classless move Jerry Jones said this, “Dez will be the ultimate decision-maker on surgery or playing with some kind of padding.” A statement like this totally absolved Jones from the responsibility of making the tough decisions leadership is expected to make. You could do this to 34 year old receiver with a history of rational decisions under his belt. You cannot do this to a fiery immature 24 year old with his entire future ahead.

Dez will be meeting with more doctors shortly to get further opinions but regardless of what they say the Cowboys have proven themselves to be classless and short-sighted in the handling of this situation. What do you expect Dez to do? Of course he will want to play. Leadership needs to be the grownups and not the cowards they’re acting like now. For Dez’s sake.