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Cowboys Ink Bryant, Give Him 88 – SportsUntapped.com
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Added July 23rd, 2010 by Chalk

Cowboys Ink Bryant, Give Him 88
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While the rest of the 2010 first round picks sit around waiting to see how much top pick Sam Bradford gets from the Rams, 24th-overall pick Dez Bryant became the first to take the plunge and sign a contract.  On Thursday, the wide receiver from Oklahoma State agreed to a five-year $11.8 million deal with the Dallas Cowboys.

Cowboys training camp starts early, and their first practice is schedule for Saturday.  Dez Bryant will be there — and wearing 88, the same number worn by Michael Irvin and Drew Pearson.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on giving 88 to the rookie:

Dez has the chance to make the same kind of impact that the people who have worn this jersey before have had, and personally I think it has a nice synergy relative to our fans. One of the first things I said when we made the pick was, ‘Get No. 88 out.’

Considering Irvin and Pearson each played in three Super Bowls, that seems like an awfully big complement to a kid who only played three games last year as a junior.  Of course, he was suspended for lying to investigators about a meeting with former Cowboys star Deion Sanders, so maybe Dallas just wanted to keep him fresh.

“It was really important that we get him working and in the groove with Tony [Romo] and our offense, and I think he understood that,” said team vice president Stephen Jones.

Michael Irvin has said he has no problem with Bryant wearing 88:

It was passed on to me and for me I took it as a place of honor, and hopefully [Bryant] understands that. It’s Drew Pearson’s number. Drew gave it to me and said, ‘Michael, go do better things with it.’ And I tell Bryant, ‘Go do better things with it.’ And God bless him.

The Cowboys may let Bryant start at wide receiver ahead of Roy Williams, and are already planning on Bryant returning punts.  At OSU, Bryant returned three punts for touchdowns.

 
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