Deion Sanders has choice words for Dez Bryant

Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver Dez Bryant is seen on the sidelines as the Cowboys play the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland on September 12, 2010. The Redskins defeated the Cowboys 13-7. UPI/Kevin Dietsch

In an ESPN.com article by Tim MacMahon, Deion Sanders verbally expressed frustration with Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant, whom Sanders recently stopped mentoring. Sanders went as far as to say that Bryant “needs help.”

“He needs help. He needs help,” Sanders said. “I told the Cowboys from Day One that he needs help. Matter of fact, they have a team in place to help him. But you cannot tell a grown man what to do.”

“I haven’t spoken to the kid,” Sanders said. “I have no desire to speak to the kid. In regards to me, I can forgive, but I can’t forget. You can’t tarnish the other things that I have going on and the other kids. It’s sort of like I can’t allow something to poison the fruit of many other kids. I can’t do it, so I cut off those ties a long time ago.”

Bryant seems to think that Sanders’ frustrations with him stem from not signing a deal with Under Armor, who outfits Sanders’ youth athletic program. The deal fell apart because Bryant determined that Under Armour’s cleats weren’t a right fit for him after testing them out during Dallas’ mini camp last year.

“I never knew the reason for Deion not saying anything to me,” Bryant said. “The only thing I can believe is that when I stopped talking to Under Armour, Deion stopped talking to me. I never knew what Prime’s problem was.

“That’s my decision. That has nothing to do with Prime. That made me feel he must be getting something from Under Armour.”

“It bothers me more than anything,” Bryant said. “I’ve looked up to Deion my whole life. I’ve never done anything wrong to him.

“The only thing I can think of is the Under Armour situation. That’s the only thing. He didn’t want me to leave Under Armour, but I had to do what’s best for me. That’s the whole truth.”

Bryant went on to say that he wishes “Deion would come to me as a man and talk to me.” He also noted that he’s been “reaching out to Deion” and that he’s never lied to his former mentor.

The quotes are interesting, which is why I posted them. But I don’t have inside access to the Sanders-Bryant relationship (I tried, but was denied and handed a restraining order) so obviously I don’t know who’s telling the truth and who isn’t. That said, if the relationship did fall apart because Bryant didn’t sign a deal with Under Armor, then shame on Sanders. Bryant is the one that has to play in those shoes – not Deion. It sure sounds like Bryant has some immaturity issues that need to be straightened out, but if Sanders is willing to cut off ties with someone that he’s mentoring because of a shoe deal then he shouldn’t be the one helping him out anyway.

But again, I haven’t been on hand when Bryant and Sanders have talked, so maybe Bryant is reading the situation wrong. Maybe Sanders is good for him and Bryant is walking down a bad path. To this point, it seems like Bryant’s “red flag issues” are minor. But if they keep coming up then maybe Sanders is right and the kid does need help.

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