Oklahoma State WR Dez Bryant spoke to the media on Friday about his suspension from college football. Bryant talked about his relationship with Deion Sanders and agent Eugene Parker. Bryant is training for the NFL Combine in Tampa, and talked about playing against CB Aqib Talib and QB Josh Freeman.
Oklahoma State wide receiver Dez Bryant met with the media on Friday for the first time since he announced his intentions to enter the NFL Draft. Bryant was suspended by the NCAA for the majority of the 2009 football season after he lied to an NCAA investigator.
Bryant admitted to lying to the NCAA about his relationship with former NFL player Deion Sanders. Some claimed that Sanders was setting up Bryant to be a client of agent Eugene Parker. Sanders and Parker both had a relationship with current San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree when he came out of Texas Tech and into the 2009 NFL Draft.
Bryant said he respected the decision made by the NCAA, but felt like it was too strong of a penalty. During his collegiate career, Bryant said he never received any gifts from Sanders or any agent or booster. Bryant explained his side of the story regarding his suspension from college football.
"Deion is my mentor, he's a great guy," said Bryant. "[Eugene Parker] is my agent and just to speak on that a little bit, I just want people to know that with Eugene and Deion, neither one talked to me about each other. Deion never talked to me about Eugene Parker. The first time I met Eugene Parker was about four weeks ago. I just felt like the NCAA thought that there was something going on, but I didn't even know [Parker] then. They thought that Deion was a runner for him, but it wasn't anything like that. Deion just wanted to be a mentor and make sure everything was right. I felt like there was nothing wrong with that.
"The NCAA, the way I look at it, they are like the feds. You can't change their vision. They are going to go with what they want to go with, so there is nothing I can do about that so I just move on. I made a mistake because I lied. I regret what I did and I respect their decision.''
In his college career, Bryant had 147 catches for 2,425 yards and 29 touchdowns. His best season was his sophomore year when he caught 87 passes for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns. Three games into his sophomore season Bryant was suspended for the rest of the season.
"When I found out the NCAA wanted to talk to me I was shocked," said Bryant. "I was nervous, and when he asked about the situation I told him. The way they were asking me if I had any relationships with Deion Sanders, he made it sound like I did something wrong, and he asked me if I went to Deion Sanders' house and I told him no, which I really did, and I came back and told him before it blew all up that I had visited Deion Sanders' house."
Bryant is preparing for the NFL scouting combine in Tampa, Florida at the Saddlebrook Resort. He said he will work out for NFL scouts at Oklahoma State's pro day, and he will do everything he is asked to do at the combine and at workouts.
"In some ways I feel like I have things to prove," Bryant said. "I want to show everybody I still have it."
While training in Tampa, Bryant has had his eye on the Buccaneers. The Bucs are in the market for help at the receiver position in the draft and free agency, and Bryant is considered to be the top receiver in the 2010 NFL Draft. Bryant has some familiarity going against some of the Buccaneers. In 2007 as a freshman, Bryant had eight receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown going against future Tampa Bay cornerback Aqib Talib, who played for the University of Kansas.
"I was matched up with him a lot," Bryant said. "Our starting receiver, Adarius Bowman, went down. I felt like I had to step up and showcase my talent. [Talib] was big and physical. I knew he could play. I felt like if I could show people what I could do against him and be successful everything would be great."
Bryant also watched current Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman when Oklahoma State played Kansas State in 2007, and when Bryant studied his Big 12 opponents.
"I watched him play at Kansas State," Bryant said. "My first time knowing about Josh was when we played them my freshman year. I felt like he was a great player. I still say to this day, and not taking away from nobody else, but I'm saying back in college he just didn't have anyone to throw to. I just felt like that took away from his ability."
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