Receiver Bryant puts suspension in the past

It’s almost a foregone conclusion that Dez Bryant is going to be selected in the first round of April’s NFL draft after putting up eye-popping numbers throughout his college career.

But before he moves on to the next level, the former Oklahoma State wide receiver wanted to express his feelings on what he considered was the “unfair” punishment he received that cut his career short in Stillwater.

In an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday, Bryant said that Deion Sanders did not introduce him to agent Eugene Parker, yet he feels that the NCAA judged him on that misinformation rather than his lying to an investigator — the reason cited by the NCAA that led to the end of his 2009 season with the Cowboys. The wideout missed the final nine games of ’09, along with the team’s Cotton Bowl game against Ole Miss.

Even though he is prepared for the next chapter in his football career, Bryant wants to warn college athletes to be upfront with the NCAA at all times. Yet, even he doesn’t know if that will be enough to please Big Brother.

“I would tell the college player to be honest at all times, but at the same time I just feel like — I don't know — the NCAA, they're going to do whatever they want to do,” Bryant said.

The NCAA said that Bryant was suspended not for meeting with the former NFL cornerback, but for lying about it to an investigator when questioned about it. Bryant, however, feels otherwise. He also believes his punishment was more severe than those of other players who broke NCAA rules.

“I just feel like it was really unfair,” he said. “I lied, which everybody knows that I lied, but I also did tell the truth and tell them that I did go out to [Sanders'] house. But I just feel like there was more to the situation.”

“I feel like they thought that Deion was a runner for [agent] Eugene [Parker],” he continued. “I didn't even know Eugene at the time. I didn't know him at all.

“Deion never brought him up around me. He never talked football around me. He never talked about what I was going to do after football. He only talked about family to me, and that was it.”

After the NCAA rejected his appeal for reinstatement on Nov. 5, Bryant declared for the draft. He also, coincidentally or not, ended up choosing Parker as his agent.

In 28 career games in Stillwater, Bryant caught 147 balls for 2,425 yards and 29 touchdowns. As a sophomore, he had 87 receptions for 1,480 yards and 19 TDs en route to being a Biletnikoff Award finalist.

As the combine approaches, Bryant feels that he has something to prove.

“I just want them to see that I've still got it,” said Bryant. “I still have a strong passion for this game.”

Whatever team selects Bryant in the draft this coming April certainly will get a great talent to plug into its offense — one with perhaps more motivation than anyone else in the draft.

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