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.

NFL Week 16 ROY power rankings

It’s definitely been a solid year for rookies in the NFL, and here are the top offensive and defensive ones ranked in order of who we think wins the honors for 2010:

Offensive rookie of the year power rankings

1. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams—Led the Rams to the team’s biggest victory in years last Sunday, and has to do it again this Sunday.

2. Aaron Hernandez/Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots—These two guys continue to put up ridiculous numbers if you combine them (81 catches, 1007 yards, 15 TDs).

3. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Bucs—Two more TDs gave this kid 10 on the season, and he’s on the verge of 1000 yards.

4. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys—He had 8 TDs (receiving and return) through 13 games before getting injured.

5. Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns—Okay, so this time the young McCoy had a rough go against the Ravens, but we won’t wipe him off the list.

Defensive rookie of the year power rankings

1. Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions—60 tackles and 9 sacks through 15 games for a DT is amazing for anyone, much less a rookie.

2. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots—He hasn’t had an INT since Week 13, but the guy is all over the field making plays.

3. Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs—I’m sure U of Tennessee fans winced when they saw their former star return a pick for a TD against the Titans.

4. Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns—Had another pick against Baltimore along with five tackles. You think Mike Holmgren knows what he’s doing or what?

5. Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants—Even though he’s on a line that already has Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, JPP has 29 tackles, 5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles and 6 passes deflected. I think Jerry Reese chose well when many doubted this kid.

NFL Week 15 ROY power rankings

There was an article in USA Today’s Sports Weekly about what a solid rookie class this has been, and it’s so true.

Offensive rookie of the year power rankings

1. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams—He’s thrown for 3065 yards on a team that won one game last season, and might possibly lead them to a playoff berth.

2. Aaron Hernandez/Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots—Between them, 953 yards and 13 TDs through 14 games. Those are Antonio Gates-esque numbers.

3. Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns—Did you need more proof that this kid is the future at QB? Yeah, the Browns lost to the Bengals, but McCoy put up 243 yards with 2 TDs and no picks, and completed 19 of 25 for a ridiculous 76% completion percentage.

4. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Bucs—Through 14 games—58/880/8, and a big reason for the Bucs’ resurgence this year.

5. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys—As electrifying a young player the NFL has seen in a long time.

Defensive rookie of the year power rankings

1. Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions—Becoming a defensive leader on his team as a rookie, and helping the young Lions become respectable again.

2. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots—Not only does this young stud have 6 interceptions, but he has 77 total tackles to rank near the top for NFL corners.

3. Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs—This is a guy you just don’t throw the ball near, and even if you don’t , he has ridiculous closing speed.

4. Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns—McCoy is the offensive bright spot, Haden the defensive one on a team showing promise in the Holmgren regime.

5. Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks—Hasn’t had a pick in a while, but his 5 still ranks near the top in the NFL.

NFL Week 14 ROY power rankings

Since they vote for offensive and defensive rookies, lets’ change it up this week…

Offensive rookie of the year power rankings

1. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams—We’ll let the New Orleans game slide. For now.

2. Aaron Hernandez/Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots—You shut one out, and the other will burn you. Or, of course, will Deion Branch and Wes Welker.

3. Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Bucs—Was almost shut out by Redskins, but like Bradford, we’ll let it slide because he’s had such as great season on a promising young team.

4. Colt McCoy, Cleveland Browns—He will get the start Sunday against Cincinnati after missing a few games with an ankle injury. Let’s see if it makes a difference, because McCoy has sparked the Browns before.

5. Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys—The Cowboys sure missed him against the Eagles.

Defensive rookie of the year power rankings

1. Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions—Is anyone really surprised at the ease the big fella transitioned into the NFL?

2. Devin McCourty, New England Patriots—6 picks leads all rookies.

3. Earl Thomas, Seattle Seahawks—Quiet the last few weeks, but who wants to throw in his direction?

4. Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs—Berry’s interception against the Chargers was the only good play of the game for his team, and it was a thing of beauty.

5. Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns—His five picks is right behind Thomas, and his overall play has been stellar.

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