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Stephen Jones: Dez needs to understand it’s not just about him

Hall of Fame Game - Dallas Cowboys v Arizona Cardinals

CANTON, OH - AUGUST 03: Dez Bryant #88 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after a 26-yard touchdown reception by Rico Gathers in the first quarter of the NFL Hall of Fame preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 3, 2017 in Canton, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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Cowboys executive Stephen Jones didn’t back away from earlier comments about wide receiver Dez Bryant being a distraction, and even though his dad said Bryant was staying around, it’s clear there are some issues to work out.

Stephen Jones went back to previous criticisms of Bryant, and said that the veteran wide receiver has to be more cognizant of the impact he has on others.

“Well, Dez is an emotional guy. He plays with emotion. That’s part of his game,” Jones said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “We work with him constantly on trying to really channel his energy in positive ways. I just think when he has those type of emotional roller coasters, I think at the end of the day he needs to understand that it does affect more than just Dez. He loves his teammates. He obviously has made so many great plays for us over the years, but when you start to look at the things that we need to be better at that’s one of them.

“I think he needs to understand that it’s not something that’s just affecting him. It does affect his teammates.”

The topic has been a big one of the Cowboys already this offseason, for several reasons. But owner Jerry Jones seemingly put questions about his future to rest by saying he expected Bryant to be on the roster next season.

“You know what Jerry thinks of Dez. He’s like a son to him,” Stephen Jones said. “He really loves Dez and thinks the world of him. His heart is in the right place. He wants to win and he wants to be the very best. We just have to channel all these energies and things in a positive way so we can be better.”

There’s also the simple economic reality that Bryant has underperformed since signing his five-year, $70 million contract three years ago. He hasn’t had a 1,000-yard season since then, and he didn’t have a 100-yard game last year, and he’s carrying a $16.5 million cap hit. Coupled with the sideline outbursts that are just part of the deal with Bryant, it’s made it a reasonable question to wonder about his future, even though Bryant’s adamant he’s not taking a pay cut.

And the fact that Stephen Jones is sounding a different tone than Jerry adds a layer to the story, as the son has been known over the years as the steadying voice for his emotional father (i.e. keeping them from drafting Johnny Manziel and taking guard Zack Martin instead). Jerry’s love for Dez might keep the wide receiver around, but the son is making it clear that some things need to change, regardless.