ARLINGTON (105.3 The Fan) – Sulking and skulking.
To the uninitiated, there was every reason to believe that’s what Dez Bryant was doing in the AT&T Stadium locker room, late into Thursday night. He wore his uniform pants, a sleeveless shirt and a stocking cap, and marched about the vast room speaking to almost no one — including the impatiently waiting media throng. He did so, oddly, while palming a football.
Sulking and skulking. But why?
He’d just helped his Dallas Cowboys bust out of a slump with a 38-14 blowout of the Washington Redskins, and he was a featured participant with a 13-yard TD catch that allowed him to leap over Hall-of-Famer Bob Hayes to become the Cowboys franchise leader in touchdown receptions with 72. What was there to sulk about? What was there to skulk about?
“The little boy,” Bryant told me after the locker room had closed and we walked to his car in the parking lot. “It was for him.”
The little boy is 9-year-old Brock Gumm of Union Grove, Texas. Brock has a relationship with the Cowboys, having connected to them through the team’s Make-A-Wish program. Brock also has an illness, the third-grader having been diagnosed with a cancer that now includes a tumor in his right lung and has also spread to his brain. Doctors recently informed the Gumm family that Brock has but a month to live.
“I just wanted,” Dez said, “to find Brock.”
The Gumm family was hosted at Thursday’s game by quarterback Dak Prescott. During the game, Brock and family sat in Prescott’s suite. But before the game, Brock was on the field, reunited with Dez to continue their budding relationship. Brock’s name was mentioned in the locker room, owner Jerry Jones acknowledging that Dak and Dez asked the team to “give [Brock] some love.”
Bryant made it clear to me that he was ecstatic about the victory, and the role his rookie pal Ryan Switzer played in it. “I knew it was coming,” Dez said of Switzer’s key punt return for an 83-yard TD.
He was also proud of his own contributions, discussing with me his crafty ability to draw an important pass-interference call in the end zone and, of course, his score. “Yeah, it’s super-exciting,” he said, before changing the subject. “At the same time, we’re trying to get into these playoffs. That’s what’s on my mind.”
Well, that’s one of the two things that occupied Bryant’s mind. Before the game, he suggested to Brock that if, somehow, someway, he was able to register the record-setting score, the precious touchdown ball would be gifted to the little boy.
So, Dez Bryant sulked. And Dez Bryant skulked. Until late into the night, when his mood lifted.
“I told Brock I was going to give him the ball,” Bryant told me as Cowboys fans in the parking lot chanted his name. “And I did it.”