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July 25, 2012

Jason Garrett: 'We support Dez. We support his mom. We want to help them in any way that we can.'

Jason Garrett said the Cowboys aim to support not only receiver Dez Bryant, but his mother and his family.

“We support Dez. We support his mom. We want to help them in any way that we can,” Garrett said Wednesday after a pre-camp practice at Valley Ranch. “We have the resources to do that. He needs to feel the support, she needs to feel the support from us, the Dallas Cowboys organization, the coaches, the players, the staff. We’re a close-knit football team. We’re a team that wants to support the people on our team, wants to support our family. Dez is a part of our family. We’re going to help him in any way that we can.”

Bryant was arrested last week on a Class A misdemeanor charge by DeSoto police, who say he hit his mother, Angela Bryant. The family’s attorney said this week that Angela Bryant, who made a 911 call to police that led to her son’s arrest, does not want to pursue charges.

Garrett said the Cowboys take Bryant’s upbringing – his mother is only 14 years older than he is, and she spent part of his youth in jail – into account.

“Anybody who knows Dez Bryant’s story and knows our team understands that he comes from a challenging background,” Garrett said. “He’s had a difficult road to get to where he is in his life, and there’s no excuse for anything that’s happened in his life. You can’t go back and say, ‘Hey, I came from this background.’ That’s not what we’re saying. But we understand what that is, and we understand as an organization how we can try to help him. He’s made a lot of progress since he’s been here with the Cowboys both as a person and as a player. He has a long way to go, just like we all do. We’re going to try to help him do that. But what he needs to know is that we support him, we support his mom, we support his family and the situation he’s in. We’re going to try to help him any way we can.”

Garrett said the Cowboys are behind any efforts Dez Bryant wants to take for counseling.

“We believe we have as good a players assistance program in all of professional sports,” he said. “We believe it’s really, really important to help our players in every way that we can. We’re well-staffed in that area. We believe in counseling for people who need it. We try to do that for all of our players. Dez will be a part of that. We just want to help him. We have great resources. We embrace the opportunity to do that. We’ve done that in the past with other players than Dez, and we’ll continue to do that.”

Garrett declined to talk about any punishment for Bryant from the team or the NFL.

“I think anything along those lines is premature,” he said. “We’re still gathering information about what exactly happened. Again, our charge to him, to his mom and his family is to support them. They need to feel our support organizationally, individually from players and coaches. We’re just going to try to help him the best we can.”

Garrett was asked if the arrest would weigh on Bryant’s mind.

“I think a lot of people who are in our business understand the importance of mental toughness and focus, and you have to do that,” Garrett said. “Players and coaches in the NFL are people, and we have issues that come up in our lives. And you have to be able to handle them and still be a pro and handle the task at hand. We expect Dez to be on the plane going out to Oxnard on Saturday with the rest of our football team.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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