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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Teams concerned about Bryant’s behavior?

Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole writes that teams might be concerned about NFL draft prospect Dez Bryant given his behavior while at Oklahoma State.

Three sources with direct knowledge of Bryant from his days in college, where he missed the final 10 games last season because of lying to NCAA investigators, said Bryant’s antics were “consistently irresponsible.”

“I wouldn’t draft that kid unless I had someone to wake him up in the morning to get to meetings, someone to wake him up for practice and someone to wake him up for games,” one source said.

A second source said Bryant’s reputation was earned because he was consistently late to team activities. That included showing up late for games.

“We’re not just talking about being a little late for warmups, but like being late for the actual game,” a source said with a chuckle. “When you start to hear some of the stories of there, you go, ‘He did what?’ ”

If I were a NFL GM, coach or owner, I’d have a hard time paying a player millions of dollars when he couldn’t handle responsibility in college. I understand we’re talking about kids in their young 20s and a lot of players do mature when they get to the pros. But what makes anyone think that Bryant will act appropriately after he gets paid?

That said, he is a great talent and there are plenty of coaches in the NFL that know how to work with a player that needs a kick in the rear. Organizations like the Steelers, Patriots, Colts, Eagles and Packers have proven that with a good support system, most players can develop into responsible men off the field.

There was plenty of bad press about Michael Crabtree and his diva attitude last year and after his contract situation was settled, he turned out to be a solid rookie. I’m willing to bet that Mike Singletary had a lot to do with that and I’m sure Bryant will get the wake up call he apparently needs if he winds up with a good organization.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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