By Ashley Dunkak
ALLEN PARK (CBS DETROIT) – In the original interview where Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant said he could do anything Detroit Lions superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson could do, Bryant prefaced the comment by saying he does not compare himself to other players.
He stands by his refusal to compare, but he also continues to dance around conceding that Johnson is the best.
“Calvin Johnson set the standard, set the bar high for every wide receiver in the league,” Bryant said. “I think it’s the respect, it’s really respect to him that he makes receivers like us go out there and try and be our best.”
Pressed to answer, based on that statement, whether Johnson is the best, Bryant got annoyed.
“You’re seriously going to ask me that question?” he asked with disgust. He reiterated his statement about Johnson setting the bar, noticeably dodging the specific inquiry.
It was an interesting response considering the way Bryant maintained that his remarks about being as good as Johnson were taken out of context and portrayed inaccurately.
“I wasn’t comparing myself at all,” Bryant said. “I think a lot of people took it the wrong way because clearly I said it is no comparison. That is something that I do not do. I don’t compare myself with anybody.”
“What I was saying was I can make catches and all of that,” Bryant added. “Thing he can do, I can do, but I wasn’t saying it as if it was just me who was able to do it. I’m pretty sure the next guy would say the same exact thing. I think it’s just a pride thing.”
Detroit head coach Jim Schwartz did not mind Bryant’s comments. In fact, he would have been surprised if Bryant had acquiesced and given Johnson the title of being the best wide receiver in the league.
“It’d probably be a little bit more of a story if somebody had asked him that question and then he said, ‘No, I don’t,'” Schwartz said. “You want players to have confidence. I think he’s that way, and I respect him for that.”
“We’re not playing the superstars competition,” Schwartz added. “We’re playing football, and each guy’s going to be asked to do different things, and their number one job is to help their team win.
Dallas head coach Jason Garrett had a similar take on the situation, giving Johnson his due but commending Bryant’s confidence.
“Dez just needs to focus on what he needs to do each and every day, and that’s what he does,” Garrett said. “He’s very passionate about the game. He works very hard at it. We all have a tremendous amount of respect for Calvin Johnson. He’s a great football player, but what allows guys to be really good players is the confidence and belief that they have in themselves, and Dez is focused on himself and doing as well as he can do.”
Not surprisingly, Detroit players all appreciate Bryant’s talent but easily give the edge to Johnson. Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis indicated that Johnson is clearly a “different monster” right now but gave Bryant credit for being “a great player in his own right.” Wide receiver Kevin Ogletree agreed that eventually Bryant could be as good as Johnson.
“I think everyone sees that,” Ogletree said. “He’s got the potential to be elite, special, if he isn’t there already. I’m sure he’s working hard, and we’re working hard over here to stop him.”