Dez Bryant went on an epic tirade against his former team after Dallas Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones made critical comments about Bryant and his on-field rapport with quarterback Dak Prescott. USA TODAY Sports
A rough week on the public relations front for the Dallas Cowboys didn't get any better Friday evening when Dez Bryant unleashed a series of criticalÃÂ Ã¢ÂÂ and at times profane and enigmaticÃÂ Ã¢ÂÂ tweets aimed at his former team.
Bryant's rant began when he responded to a tweet from a SiriusXM interview of teamÃÂ executive vice president and director of player personnel Stephen Jones,ÃÂ who appeared to suggestÃÂ the former all-pro receiver hindered quarterback Dak Prescott's progress. Jones later said, however, his comments were taken out of context.
Saying he was being scapegoated, Bryant responded: "YÃ¢ÂÂall know what the real problem is ... garbage ass play calling.. Everybody lined up in the same spot for 17 weeks."
Bryant then replied to a follower who slammed Jones as "clueless"ÃÂ by taking the conversation in an entirely different direction.
"HeÃ¢ÂÂs not clueless," wrote Bryant. "(Owner) Jerry (Jones) was the only one who was clueless.. (expletive)ÃÂ was a planned to get me out ask Travis and my brother snake Lee I mean Sean Lee."
It subsequently became clear that Bryant feels Lee, Dallas' mild-mannered Pro Bowl linebacker, helped orchestrate his release in April, a month after the NFL free agency period began.
"Yea he suppose to been my brother," Bryant said in reference to Lee. "we laughed talk about goals and stuff he sat right across from me in the locker room..never thought we had a problem.. I got cut.. he was the first to know.. I find out he was also behind it Damn!!"
Asked about Bryant's comments on Friday, Lee denied the accusation.
Ã¢ÂÂFirst thing, to say I can get anybody off the team andÃÂ have input on the roster is absurd," Lee said, according to the Dallas Morning News.ÃÂ "Second thing, I love Dez andÃÂ I want the best for him. To be honest with you, we did butt heads because I wanted Dez to be moreÃÂ accountable to this team andÃÂ his teammates. And to be honest with you, a lot of the team felt that way.
"I think he needs to look at himself andÃÂ hold himself accountable."
Shortly after his release, Bryant, who played in Dallas for eight seasons, had accused "Garrett Guys"ÃÂ Ã¢ÂÂ those loyal to head coach Jason Garrett Ã¢ÂÂ of being largely responsible for his ouster but never specifically named anyone. At the time, Prescott and now-retired tight end Jason Witten seemed like targets of Bryant's wrath, though both were complimentary of their ex-teammate in the days following his departure.
Bryant, who remains a free agent as training camps open across the country,ÃÂ went on to express appreciation of other Cowboys on Friday, including Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott, tweeting: "Last thing... I always been @dak @EzekielElliott @Bease11 @TerranceWill2 I canÃ¢ÂÂt tag everyone but you know who you are # 1 supporters and still am.. I want them to achieve everything they got they mind on"
He also circled back to Jerry Jones, saying he loved the Hall of Fame owner.
So ends an eventful week for Cowboy Nation, one that began with the team reporting toÃÂ camp in Oxnard, Calif., followed by controversial statements from Jerry and Stephen Jones that the club expects its players to stand for the pre-game playing of the national anthem, regardless of any league policy. Stephen Jones offered further advice in an interview Thursday when asked if his players should eschew kneeling, saying:ÃÂ Ã¢ÂÂIf they want to be a Dallas Cowboy, yes.Ã¢ÂÂ
Earlier Friday, Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins told USA TODAY Sports' Mike Jones:ÃÂ Ã¢ÂÂIÃ¢ÂÂm glad IÃ¢ÂÂm not a Dallas Cowboy."
Jenkins went on to say other NFL owners need to stand up to Jerry Jones.
Ã¢ÂÂAs long as you have voices like Jerry Jones that speak and say these things, that reflects the mindset of the rest of ownership unless they decide to make as much noise as he has,Ã¢ÂÂ Jenkins explained. Ã¢ÂÂThey know (the protests have) nothing to do with (patriotism). I think thatÃ¢ÂÂs the most frustrating thing that they continue to push the rhetoric of anti-military and anti-America when they have walked hand-in-hand with us into communities, who have talked with us to police officers, talked with us to defense attorneys and community groups. So, they know what it is that weÃ¢ÂÂre trying to accomplish. It has nothing to do with our flag, our country or the military itself.Ã¢ÂÂ
Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
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