Dez Bryant sued for unpaid debts

Dallas Cowboys Dez Bryant watches his 93-yard punt return against the New York Giants on the video board during the second quarter in Cowboys Stadium October 25, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. UPI/Ian Halperin

Maybe there was something to what Deion Sanders had to say last week about Dez Bryant.

A week after Deion stated publicly that the receiver “needs help,” Bryant is now being sued by a landlord in Stillwater, Oklahoma for failing to pay his rent.

“He still has not paid us,” said Bryce Campbell, the manager for Jim Campbell Property Management, the plaintiff in the case. “He will not answer our calls.”

Campbell said Bryant’s lawyers told his company that if they signed a form agreeing to drop the case, the leasing office would receive a check within two weeks.

“We never received anything,” Campbell said, “and that’s been months ago.”

“We were kind of excited he got a contract,” Campbell said. “OK, the guy just didn’t have the money. Now he’s got a contract. Five thousand is nothing to him….He hasn’t even attempted to (pay).”

This isn’t the first time that Bryant has been accused of not settling his debts. A New York jeweler claims that the receiver owes $240,000 for unpaid jewelry ordered sometime between January and May of 2010. A Texas jeweler also claims that Bryant has not paid $588,500 in jewelry, $15,850 in sporting event tickets and $11,000 in loans. Apparently those purchases were made between June 2009 and June 2010 when Bryant was still enrolled at Oklahoma State.

The issue involving Sanders was reportedly because Bryant backed out of an endorsement deal with Under Armour only to keep the sporting good company’s money. Considering he signed a five-year, $11.8 million contract that included $8.63 million in guaranteed money, Bryant could probably settle his debts in an hour.

But the problem obviously isn’t money. The problem is that this 22-year-old kid has no concept of responsibility. From the moment he walked onto campus at OSU, he’s had everything handed to him and now he’s like an adult child with millions of dollars to play with instead of toys. And because of the lockout, the Cowboys can’t offer him any structure or guidance, which is a shame.

In some ways I feel bad for Bryant because clearly nobody taught him about responsibility. But come on: a 7-year-old knows that if they want something, they have to pay for it. Did Bryant not think that he had to pay rent? Did he not think that he had to pay for the jewelry that he purchased?

Speaking of which, how did Bryant come into all of this jewelry? Did OSU give it to him? Did he receive it from a booster or an agent? How does someone accrue thousands of dollars in debt for jewelry, tickets and loans without having to pay for it up front? Did someone lead him to believe that all of this was free? (Not that that gives Bryant a free pass in the matter.)

I smell an NCAA investigation.

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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 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.

Theismann on Patriots: Watch out for Danny Woodcock

Needless to say, this got a big laugh out of the “No Huddle” crew, especially Deion Sanders. Take a look:

Hey, maybe Theismann is a big Billy Bob Thornton fan.

Deion Sanders not happy with ranking in NFL Network’s Top 100

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 29:  NFL commentator Deion Sanders speaks during a broadcast at the Tampa Convention Center on January 29, 2009 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

The network has him ranked #34 all time, and he’s upset about it.

Deion is going to be partial to defense (and himself), but he brings up an interesting point that there’s a huge disparity between the number of offensive players that were selected compared to the number of defensive players. But is that surprising? Offensive players put up gaudy stats while you usually can’t fully appreciate how good a defender is unless you watch film. Nnamdi Asomugha’s interception totals are always low, but he’s widely regarded as the best corner in the league because quarterbacks don’t dare throw his way.

That said, Sanders was the greatest cover corner to have played the game and maybe he does have right to complain about his No. 34 ranking. As he alludes to, quarterbacks used to stay away from his side of the field and he still found ways to make plays. He was also a highlight reel waiting to happen on special teams and even though he’s often criticized for not tackling, that doesn’t take away from how outstanding he was in coverage.

Does he have a beef? Should he be in the top 10 or is his ranking justified?

Decade Debate: 10 Worst NFL Free Agent Signings

There’s nothing worse for an organization then when it sinks a ton of money into a player that was supposed to turn around a franchise and instead he turns out to be a Grade A bust. As part of our ongoing Decade Debate series, here is a list of the 10 worst NFL free agent signings of the past decade. Whether it was because of performance, injury or the player’s attitude (or a combination of the lot), these signings just didn’t pan out.

10. Chuck Smith, Panthers, 2000/LeCharles Bentley, Browns, 2006

These players are listed together because they both fell victim to the same curse at separate times during the decade. After finishing as the Falcons’ all-time leader in sacks at 58.5, Smith signed a lucrative five-year, $21 million deal with the Panthers. But after playing just two games for Carolina, a knee injury cost him the rest of the season, as well as his career. If only Bentley were fortunate enough to play two games. After signing a six-year, $36 million deal that included $12.5 million in guaranteed money, Bentley ruptured a patellar tendon on his first day of training game, which led to a series of staph infections that almost led to doctors having to amputate his leg. The Browns essentially paid him $16 million for zero games and while injuries are to blame for both of these players’ misfortunes, they were nevertheless busted free agent signings for their respective teams.

9. Edgerrin James, Cardinals, 2006

The Cardinals opened up their wallet for James, who was coming off two consecutive Pro Bowl seasons with the Colts. But after shelling out a four-year, $30 million contract and committing $11.5 million in bonuses to the 28-year old back, James failed to rush for 4.0 YPC in each of his three seasons in Arizona. In his final year in the desert, James lost his starting job to Tim Hightower and managed only 514 yards on 133 carries with three touchdowns. Outside of a decent (and that’s putting it generously) effort in the postseason last year, James was a huge disappointment in Arizona.

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