Earlier this month Dez Bryant proclaimed he was "America's most hated," after ESPN reported the All-Pro wide receiver missed as many as 40 team meetings during his seven seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
Bryant, who is continuing to recover from a hairline fracture of the tibial plateau in his knee, told reporters he regretted that he missed a team meeting and scheduled MRI the day after he suffered the injury against the Chicago Bears on Sept. 25. Although Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the reported number of Bryant's missed meetings was "not right," he did say "the timeliness of his meetings" were the "No. 1 issue" for Bryant.
Former Cowboys great Charles Haley, however, doesn't think Bryant being late or possibly missing meetings is a big deal. Speaking on NFL Network's Up to the Minute Live on Thursday, Haley said he didn't believe team meetings made him a better player on Sundays.
"I never was on time for any meeting," said Haley, while promoting his new autobiography, "Fear No Evil". "Meetings are for guys (who) don't know how to perform on the field. I was late to all of them. I told them real quick, my job was on Sunday. Being there early to make a coach feel better is not gonna help me be a better player."
Haley went on to state on-field production ultimately trumps attendance at team meetings.
"I'm always in attack mode, so coaches gave me latitude and longitude," the Pro Football Hall of Famer said. "It's like anything else. You got players to hate, you got players that want your job that run back to the media say, 'Oh he missed the meetings, he's doing this, he's doing that.'
"Bottom line, it's about production. Is he producing out on the field? ... Is he a teammate that you would love to be on your team?"
Although Bryant's attendance at team meetings might or might not be an issue within the team, it hasn't been enough for the team's brass to take drastic steps. As far as Haley is concerned, Bryant doesn't have to worry about team meetings as long as he continues to be a star in Big D.