Bryant embraces new opportunity
By Jeff Walcoff, Staff Writer
October 28, 2004
The bye week will not be much of a bye for
The newest member of the Browns receiving corps
will be plenty busy during the team's week off
not only continuing to study and grow more
comfortable in the Browns' offense, but also
tying up loose ends in Dallas, where he played
for two-plus seasons.
Bryant has made it very clear however, that once
his house is sold in Dallas, the city will be a
place of the past for the 23-year-old
"There's no looking back," he said. "I'm here. I
have caught Cleveland passes and have Cleveland
stats now. I'm here."
A new environment not only gives Bryant a chance
for a rebirth after a rough tenure in Dallas in
which he had a well-documented rocky relationship
with Cowboys head coach Bill Parcells. It also
gives him a chance to excel at what he does best.
While not a physically imposing receiver at 6-1,
192 pounds, Bryant gained a reputation in college
at Pitt and in Dallas for being mentally
"The biggest thing is preparation," Bryant said.
"I need to control what I can control, which is
whatever the coaches hand me. And I need to
prepare myself the best way to benefit the team
whether it's blocking, catching passes or making
big plays. Those are things I love to do-whatever
benefits the team to win."
Bryant was drafted in the second round in 2002 by
Browns defensive coordinator Dave Campo, who was
the Cowboys head coach at the time.
After injuries during the preseason depleted the
team's receiving corps, Bryant became only the
second receiver in Cowboys history to open the
season as a starting wide receiver (Michael
Bryant went on to lead all NFL rookie receivers
with 733 yards. He finished the season tied for
the team lead in touchdown receptions and second
all-time in receptions by a rookie in club
His great start went sour over a two-year
relationship with Parcells, which hit a fever
pitch during '04 training camp when Bryant threw
a sweaty jersey into his coach's face.
Bryant was traded to the Browns last week in
exchange for receiver Quincy Morgan despite
recording 16 catches for 266 yards in the team's
first five games.
While Bryant is not talking about Parcells or the
Cowboys any longer, he did take one jab, pointing
out some strict rules from Dallas non-existent
with the Browns.
"You can play the radio here," Bryant said. "You
couldn't play the radio in the locker room (in
Dallas). (Music) allows you to lose tension and
get into your groove. It refreshes your mind.
"Football is a fun thing. When I came (to
Cleveland), the coaches kept reiterating to go
out there and have fun. It wasn't just, 'You
better win.' (Winning) is what we play for. If
you're not here to win, you shouldn't be here.
But they keep reminding us to have fun with
winning. When the fun is out of football, it's
not football anymore. It's just a job."
Bryant stressed perks like these and a more laid
back attitude are only worthwhile if they help
the team win games.
He is 0-1 with his new club, but after only two
and a half days of practice, he did contribute in
the loss with two catches for 26 yards, both on
Head coach Butch Davis commended Bryant following
the game for making only one mental mistake in 22
plays despite the short time to prepare.
"The more time you put into it, the better
results you're going to get," Bryant said. "I'm
going to put a lot of effort into getting better
and knowing the playbook so my results are
"We're trying to get to the playoffs and be
successful. There are nine more games left, which
is a lot of football, so that's what we're trying