Mike Gundy's a man, so we should all pay attention when he talks about maturity levels of others.
The Oklahoma State head coach was on the radio Tuesday and the conversation turned toward his former player Dez Bryant. Gundy didn't get to coach Bryant for very long thanks to his yearlong suspension as a junior, but he coached him long enough to have some good insight about whether or not Bryant will turn his otherworldly talent into the superstar career that seems to be available to him.
Gundy said several nice things about Bryant during the interview. He's proud that Bryant went to OSU, compliments Bryant's willingness to sign autographs and, like everyone else, realizes that he's got talent oozing out of his pores. But he also said some things that make you wonder if the Cowboys shouldn't be trying to trade Bryant now.
Here's a sampling of Gundy's worrisome comments about Bryant's immaturity, with a little commentary.
"There were times when he would oversleep and he may be late to a class, but it wasn’t in a detrimental way. That was just kind of Dez’s personality."
Sure, he stole a lot of money and destroyed a lot of people, but that was just kind of Bernie Madoff's personality. It's not everyday that you hear a football coach put a positive spin on a player being too lazy or selfish to do the things on his schedule on a given day.
"He just has to stay focused. And the thing I worry about most with Dez is there’s so much money at that level and they have so many people pulling him in different directions."
This is a real concern, given Bryant's distaste for paying his bills and his allegedly dwindling bank account. If Bryant really is as good as he appears, he's got the potential to be an absolute nightmare when it comes to contract holdouts and renegotations.
"If you ask him to do something, and you look him in the eye and say, “Dez, I need this done,” he’ll get it done."
That's perfectly fine for a college kid, but professionals need to be able to get by with a little less hand holding. There are things that you simply have to know that you need to get done and just get them done without incident.
None of these things mean that Bryant won't wind up being a superstar who only causes problems for opposing defenses. Plenty of players have come into the NFL immature and wound up being just fine. But there have also been plenty of players who failed to make the most of their talent because other things kept getting in the way. Where Bryant fits is an open question that Gundy certainly can't answer.
In the end, it's just troubling that Gundy couldn't avoid raising several serious red flags while giving an interview that was generally bullish about Bryant as a player and a person. Those red flags are going to keep waving until Bryant can put together a full season where the only noise he makes comes on the field.