Sanjay Lal sounded like a coach excited to work with Dez Bryant.
Lal joined the Dallas Cowboys as their wide receivers coach earlier this off-season and weighed in on Bryant on Thursday at SMU's pro day. The two have exchanged text messages.
“My impressions are he’s a competitive guy,” said Lal. “Obviously he’s not happy with what happened last year in terms of his game. I’m excited to work with him and help him as much as I can.
“I think together we can go good places.”
Bryant’s status with the organization hangs in the balance. He’s under contract for two more years with a $12.5 million base salary each season, but the team is expected to ask him to take a pay cut.
Bryant wasn’t receptive to the idea late last season, and Cowboys executives have yet to discuss it with him. But a meeting is coming sooner rather than later.
Bryant, 29, has seen his production drop since signing a five-year, $70 million contract in 2015.
He had three straight seasons with at least 1,200 yards and 12 touchdowns before signing the deal. Since then, Bryant has failed to reach 1,000 yards receiving or double-digit touchdowns in any season.
Last season, Bryant led the Cowboys in receptions (69), receiving yards (838) and touchdown catches (6), becoming the franchise’s all-time leader in touchdown receptions. But he also ranked among the league leaders with a career-high 12 dropped passes.
The Cowboys have been active in the free agent market this off-season, signing receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson. Lal said he is “very much so” excited about the new signings.
He coached Thompson in Buffalo in 2014 and was impressed with Hurns during the interview process.
“[Thompson] is a speed guy that can run routes and block,” Lal said. “Then Allen, that’s the first time I met him, but the film sessions I had with him were off-the-charts. He’s extremely bright, knows football, hungry, so that’s what we’re trying to build in that receiver room.”