Sturm's Morning After – the release of Dez Bryant
By Bob Sturm Apr 14, 2018

Sometimes we wish to make simple things more complex to help come to terms. You haven't quite felt the pain of a fan-favorite being told to go away in a while. We prefer the teary-eyed standing ovation as he circles the stadium with cheers and adoration in a way that ends the movie properly. He waves one final time and then heads up the runway, no doubt underneath the banners that he helped hang.

Sure. Good movie. It is always better that way.

But, that doesn't happen. Troy Aikman staggered back to the bench after being planted in the turf at Texas Stadium by Lavar Arrington in a rather nondescript third down rollout to his right.

Roger Staubach's last completed pass was to his left guard, Herb Scott. The final incomplete pass hit turf near midfield as the Cowboys lost a playoff game at home to the Rams in 1979.

And that was that. Neither of those Cowboys heroes had much left in the tank and neither would play again – certainly not vowing to make the team pay for turning its back on them (although Troy seemed willing if he could find a taker).

Tony Romo's last play was a meaningless touchdown pass in a meaningless game in Philadelphia to end 2016. Some fans thought it might attract some bidders for his services. CBS was evidently the only organization to bid very hard.

Tony Dorsett was a Bronco. Michael Irvin's time ended with staff unscrewing his facemask on his back in Philadelphia. Emmitt Smith's ended meekly in a Cardinals uniform. DeMarcus Ware walked away after a cold day in Kansas City, wearing a Denver Broncos uniform with a Super Bowl ring in his pocket. Larry Allen's time ended in Cleveland while wearing a 49ers helmet in 2007.

Everyone on this list ultimately had an ending and then they all went into the Ring of Honor, and maybe the Pro Football Hall of Fame (I will assume DeMarcus Ware is automatic on both fronts).

Dez Bryant may someday go in the Cowboys Ring of Honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He likely has plenty of work to do on the latter, but the former might already be in the books if the owner has a say in the matter when his career is fully done.

His final catch in a Cowboys uniform is here:

A rather typical quick out to him in space where he moves the chain with 5 minutes to play in a Week 17 affair in Philadelphia that the Cowboys would win 6-0. Little did we know.

But, the real exit was yesterday from the Star in Frisco. Dez will have a chance to validate the legions of fans who are certain he was given a raw deal when the Cowboy surprised me and cut the cord with the face of their franchise. But his career in Dallas – 8 years, 7,459 yards, and 73 Touchdowns later – is over.

And he has vowed to make the franchise pay for this.

I have already broken down everything there is to break down about where he is in his career at the moment. He is a player in decline and the decline may be steep – depending on how hard you squint to imagine a scenario where he can channel 2014 again. That said, I still thought it was dangerous to say goodbye already. I expected a modification of his paycheck, which was absurdly excessive given his production over three seasons. I expected there was a price where they could compromise and perhaps a role change that would suit his present skillset.