IRVING, Texas – For all the drama Dez Bryant created on and off the field early in his career, the Dallas receiver has never really had a public spat with a high-profile rival.
Tony Romo’s top target isn’t going to start with Richard Sherman, the talented Seattle cornerback who’s been known to call out opposing receivers in pointed ways.
“I feel like at times he says what he feels and that’s what he believes,” said Bryant, who will try to match his second-longest touchdown streak at five games when the Cowboys (4-1) visit the Seahawks on Sunday. “There’s really nothing wrong with what he’s doing. He has issues with other players that are a conflict, but that’s not here. We have respect.”
Days after dismissing Washington’s Pierre Garcon as a receiver who “doesn’t matter,” Sherman had entirely different words for Bryant, one of the league’s most productive receivers since the Cowboys drafted him in 2010.
The timing might have had a little to do with it because Bryant had just made one of the best catches of his career – a leaping, juggling 37-yarder on third down to set up the winning field goal in a 20-17 overtime victory against Houston.
“He made a fantastic play for them last week, which is indicative of what he can do when the ball is in the air,” Sherman said. “He’s definitely physical throughout the route.”
The Cowboys bring a surprising record and NFL rusher leader DeMarco Murray to Seattle (3-1), and the matchup of Murray against the league’s top rushing defense is certainly a talker. But Sherman against Bryant is probably the most intriguing one-on-one battle in the game.
It’s unlikely that Dallas will follow the lead of other teams and simply stay away from Sherman. The Cowboys have generally been better when they’ve found ways to get the ball to Bryant, whose 44 scoring catches through 64 games are more than twice what Drew Pearson had and 15 more than Michael Irvin at the same point in the careers of those No. 88s for Dallas.
Even if Sherman took aim at Bryant the way he did with San Francisco’s Michael Crabtree, it’s unlikely he would get much of a response from Bryant. While the fifth-year receiver had a petty sideline moment as recently as last season when he went to the locker room before the clock expired in a loss to Green Bay, he usually dances away from headline-grabbing sound bites.
He wouldn’t oblige reporters Thursday when asked if he considered himself the best, and after Cowboys coach Jason Garrett playfully pushed him away from the conversation, he came back for one more answer – and a politically correct one at that.
But Bryant isn’t naive enough to believe all the niceties will extend into the game.
“I’m pretty sure he’s going to say something to me,” said Bryant, who said he chatted with Sherman and exchanged phone numbers at an event during the offseason. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to say something to him. But at the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, we’re going to congratulate one another and talk and take pictures and get back on the plane and go our separate ways.”
Seattle’s Stephen Schilling is likely to make his first career start at center, with Max Unger doubtful because of a sprained foot. … Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor is questionable with a hip injury and will be a game-time decision. … Cowboys linebacker Rolando McClain will play, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Friday. McClain practiced Friday for the first time this week.
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