Michael Irvin’s mentorship of Dez Bryant is well documented, but Irvin isn’t the only Cowboys great who’s taken an interest in the young receiver.
Longtime Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek and Bryant became friends a couple years ago, according to David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, and they’ve worked together “a fair amount” since then. According to Novacek, the maturity issues that hampered Bryant in his early years are behind him.
“First of all I’m very, very big that the game is not 50 percent mental, 50 percent physical,” Novacek said, per the Morning News. “The game is not 80 percent mental and 20 percent physical. The game is 100 percent mental. You’ve got to be able to mentally control things in all parts of your life. I think that’s what he’s done more than anything. The things that have plagued him in the past are gone now. Whether it was his fault or someone else’s fault or the situation, whatever it was, they’re past him and he’s able to be able to say, ‘You know, life is good. Life is alright. Things are going to happen. I’m going to get over that and I’m going to go out and play the game.’
“I think that has allowed him to really free up mentally and concentrate more or where I need to be and when I need to be there.’’
Novacek, who went to five Pro Bowls and won three Super Bowls with the Cowboys, says Bryant’s approach to and love of the game reminds him of his old teammate and Bryant’s other mentor, Irvin.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a player who just simply wants to play the game of football like Dez does,” Novacek said. “You know, Michael (Irvin) had an unbelievable desire to win. I think that’s what put Michael ahead of everyone else, just that unbelievable desire to win at all costs when he was out there performing. I think Dez has that heart of, ‘I want to play this game every day of my life.’”
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