This past summer Dez Bryant managed to get himself in trouble again. And this time it was nothing harmless like immature mall rat behavior, but an alleged domestic assault on his mother. While nothing has come about from those charges yet it didn’t stop the legions of Cowboys fans from calling for Dez Bryant’s departure.
Fans said Dez Bryant was not living up to the hype when the Cowboys traded up to get him in the draft and he was given the famous double eights. The man who initially made Dez’s hallowed No. 88 famous in the first place claimed he wasn’t worthy of the honor of wearing it.
“He’s not living up to the expectations that were placed on him by wearing that number,” Pearson said. “Drew Pearson took it to the Ring of Honor level and Michael Irvin took it way beyond that to the Hall of Fame level.
“When Michael and I had a chance to talk to Dez when he came in his rookie year we told him, ‘Don’t do what Drew Pearson did in it. Don’t do what Michael did in it. Do more than that.’ I know that’s a lot to live up to, but what else is there? You live up to those expectations and people will cherish you for the rest of your life.”
But Dez has had a break out month, in what is his break out year, that might ultimately land him a trip to Hawaii.
In the past 4 games his team has been fighting to hold onto a little bit of hope for a chance at the post season. And in those 4 games Dez has put this team on his back. He has caught 29 passes for 475 yards and six touchdowns. That’s given him career highs in receptions in a seasons and yards in a season and has him positioned to go over 1,000 yards receiving for the first time in his career.
Yet Dez Bryant is arguably outperforming the other famous 88’s in his third year in the NFL. Those 6 touchdown receptions in the past 4 games are more than Drew Pearson’s touchdown totals for 7 of his 11 seasons. If you add the 2 seasons Pearson caught 6 touchdown passes, Dez tied or surpassed Drew’s touchdown totals of 9 different seasons in a 4 game stretch.
And it’s not just Pearson and the “Ring of Honor level” it’s Michael Irvin and the “Hall of Fame level” he is passing too. The 8 touchdown passes Dez has caught this year is more than Irvin’s season totals in 9 of his NFL seasons, though it is worth noting that includes two injury shortened seasons. Only twice in Irvin’s career did he catch more touchdowns than Dez has through the 2012 season so far and Dez has 4 more games left.
In fact, Dez Bryant in his first 3 seasons has almost caught more touchdown passes than Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin caught in each of their first 3 seasons combined. Drew and Michael each had 12 touchdowns their first 3 seasons for a combined total of 24 trips to the end zone. As of today Dez Bryant has caught 23 touchdowns through his first 3 seasons. That’s right, Dez has almost as many touchdowns in less than 3 seasons then Irvin and Pearson had in 6 seasons.
Drew Pearson had 2,297 yards receiving in his first season over 42 games. Dez has 2,467 yards receiving over his first 3 seasons through 39 games.
Dez Bryant has 179 receptions for 2,467 yards and 23 touchdowns through his first 39 NFL games. Michael Irvin had 151 receptions for 2,606 yards and 18 touchdowns through his first 39 games. Drew Pearson had 132 receptions for 2,383 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first 39 games.
Dez Bryant is emerging and living up to the famous No. 88 Jerry Jones bestowed upon him 3 years ago. What is even scarier for the rest of the league is that Bryant is still maturing and getting better as a football player. He could set new standards for the prestigious No. 88.