The Dallas Cowboys did not fine or discipline Dez Bryant for leaving Sunday’s game early, and the fourth-year receiver said he should not have done it.
“Let me start by saying that was not the right thing to do,” Bryant told reporters Monday at Valley Ranch, where he spoke at length about the controversy his action created. “I wasn’t looking at it that way, how people are portraying it, how I looked, which I clearly understand.
“Everybody in this locker room, they understand. They understood my frustration, losing like that, that’s hard.”
Bryant said he went inside because he didn’t want to see the end of the game, and because he didn’t want anyone to see him crying on the sideline.
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“I know I’m a very emotional player. I’ve always been that way,” he said. “I got to do a better job of controlling my emotions.
“I feel like there was no way I could have sat there and watched them knee the ball and shake any one of those players’ hands, just because of the fashion of how we lost. And it was heartbreaking.”
Coach Jason Garrett said Bryant apologized.
“He said, ‘Coach, I just couldn’t handle it when I saw those guys in our stadium taking a knee in a game we should have won.’ He said, ‘I don’t want to do something stupid with everybody watching so I wanted to remove myself from that situation,’ ” Garrett said. “I certainly understood that and explained to him why it’s important not to do that in the future.”
Bryant said he understands actions like that hurt his reputation and regrets it.
“I think, handling everything, I have not been doing that,” he said. “I’m a football guy. I don’t care about the stuff that comes with football. I just love the game, and sometimes I need to understand and do a better job.”
Asked if he has to learn to be a gracious loser, Bryant said, “I guess. I don’t know, man. I didn’t really know how to control or handle myself.”
More tests for Lee
Sean Lee said he does not know when he will be cleared to play and more tests await on his neck.
“Obviously, you only have so much time left,” he said Monday at his stop during the Cowboys’ annual children’s hospital visit. “Until they clear me, I won’t be in there. That is the key for me. Hopefully, they can clear me fairly soon. But they have to test that and figure that out.”
Lee hurt his neck on the first play of last Monday night’s game against the Bears.
He played 47 snaps, leaving for good in the third quarter. A CT scan offered positive news the day after the game, and Lee practiced two days in shells. But an MRI revealed a sprained ligament. Lee said surgery is not necessary.
DeMarcus Ware, held to a tackle assist and a quarterback hurry on Sunday, admits he wonders if he can do more.
“There’s a lot of things I can do better, but then, sometimes you sit back and you think, when you’re giving it 100 percent, what else can you do?” he said.
The veteran defensive end went without a sack Sunday in a game where he promised to be a force. He has two sacks since returning from a quadriceps injury five games ago. They are his only two sacks since Week 4.
He said of his play against the Packers, “I think it’s consistent play, but I’m still not satisfied.”
Morris Claiborne thinks he can play before the season is out, but he won’t rush back. He learned his lesson last time, playing against the Giants on Nov. 24 after missing two games but having to leave the game again because of his hamstring. He has missed three games since.
“You just have to take the right precautions with a hamstring injury,” Claiborne said. “You never know how it’s going to turn out. It can feel great and you go out and play and then all of a sudden, make a wrong move and you’re going back over it again.”
Defensive end George Selvie said he hyperextended his back in the game and that it was sore, but that he is OK now.