If any teams are thinking about signing Dez Bryant for the purpose of mentoring young players, they might want to think again.
According to former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, Bryant’s competitiveness and fierce love of football may have ended the career of a once-promising defensive back.
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) May 15, 2018
“He’s still playing but he’s not any good and it’s because Dez punked him,” Ryan said.
Per research done by USA Today’s For The Win, it appears the cornerback in question is former LSU star Morris Claiborne. It seems he’s the only player who fits the bill in the two-year window that Ryan served as Dallas’ defensive coordinator.
Claiborne has had a decent NFL career, but he has not lived up to the hype of his No. 6 overall draft selection in 2012. He never played more than 12 games for Dallas after his rookie season and has yet to record more than 1 interception in a season.
The former Tigers player had a nice 2017 season with the New York Jets, deflecting a career-high 8 passes to go with an interception and 34 tackles in 15 games.
The 2012 season was arguably the height of Bryant’s powers. That was his third year in the league, when he recorded a career-high 1,382 yards to go with 12 touchdowns. Bryant caught 92 passes that season, which would only be eclipsed by his 93 receptions the following year. He’s a free agent.
If Bryant did “punk” Claiborne — or any other player — hard enough to derail his career, it’s possible he wouldn’t have reached his potential anyway. Still, it sounds as if Ryan regrets the decision to line him up across from Bryant.
Claiborne is 28, so he could hit his prime at a later age in his career. But for now, Claiborne will remain as one of the great “what if?” questions of the decade for Cowboys fans.