Dez Bryant joins Dallas Cowboys for last day of minicamp

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Dez Bryant joined his Dallas Cowboys teammates for the last day of minicamp.

Bryant didn’t practice Thursday since he still has not signed his franchise tender that would guarantee him $12.8 million this season.

But the All-Pro receiver sat with teammates in the stands at the Cowboys’ stadium when coach Jason Garrett addressed the team before the final organized workout until training camp in California next month. Bryant then went on the field, tossing a football on the sideline and later standing near quarterback Tony Romo.

“Great to have him here,” Garrett said before practice. “He’s dropped in really throughout the offseason program. Dez is a special guy. … Very important to our football team.”

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Bryant wants a long-term deal, and has indicated that he would be willing to skip regular-season games if he doesn’t get one. The receiver would be locked into to the $12.8 million franchise tender and unable to negotiate any more until after the season if a new deal isn’t reached by July 15.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones visited with Bryant on the opposite sideline from where reporters were allowed to be during practice.

In talking about Bryant’s passion for the game, Garrett echoed some of the same things Jones said Wednesday. The owner said he anticipated Bryant being at training camp next month and had “no doubt” that the receiver would be leading the way in the Sept. 13 season opener against the NFC East rival New York Giants at the stadium.

Bryant caught 89 passes for 1,350 yards and an NFL-high 16 touchdowns last season, the end of his rookie deal that paid the former first-round draft pick about $11.8 million over five years. He has had at least 80 catches, 1,000 yards and 10 TDs in three consecutive seasons.

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“Dez is preparing himself to play football. There’s a business side of the NFL that’s real,” Garrett said. “Dez loves football, Dez loves our football team, Dez wants to be a great player, he wants the team to be great, so everything he does, he works through that prism, and that’s one of the things that we love about him.”