Dez Reminds Jason Garrett of Michael Irvin

In the 1990s, the Cowboys head coach played eight seasons with Irvin in Dallas

Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett played eight seasons with Michael Irvin in the 1990s, and says he sees flashes of the Hall of Fame receiver in Dez Bryant--who seems to be developing into the sort of leader-by-example Irvin was for those Super Bowl-winning teams.

Michael Irvin set the pace and the tempo for our team all throughout the ‘90s,” Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “He worked harder than anybody else. And Dez Bryant has a lot of those same traits. He just does it the right way. He wants to play the game at a very high level.”

The Cowboys are looking to get Bryant a new, long-term deal perhaps as early as this year, but according to Garrett, the idea of a large payday hasn’t acted as any distraction for the 24-year-old, saying, “Any contract concerns don’t show up on the practice field.”

Fittingly, while Garrett was praising Bryant’s work ethic on the practice field at Valley Ranch on Monday, Bryant was in the background catching passes from a JUGS machine--this during a portion of the workout devoted to special teams.

“He’s over there by himself with a couple of managers, hammering footballs at him, catching balls,” Garrett said. “I told our film guy, ‘Film that.’ I showed our team that in the team meeting, because Dez Bryant arguably has the best hands I’ve ever seen. Players on our team feel the same way. He’s just such a natural, a natural catching the football. I tried to make the point to our team that you’re really not a natural catching the football, Dez just catches more balls than anybody else. He’s worn my arm out, he’s worn the managers’ arms out, the quarterbacks’ arms out.

“He loves the game. He has a great passion for the game. Contract aside, he’s not worried about that. He’s trying to get himself to be the best player he can be to help our team be the best it can be.”

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