You know what people say about first impressions.
You don’t get a second chance to make a good one.
Dallas Cowboys rookie Dez Bryant made sure he got off to a good start on the first day of training camp Saturday, taking the field some 45 minutes before practice at the Alamodome.
Bryant wasn’t just early for practice, he was the first player on the field.
"I just wanted to show everybody that I’m ready to go, ready to play," Bryant said after the Cowboys opened their fifth training camp in San Antonio. "I’m ready to do whatever they ask me to do. I just want to work hard and give 100 percent. I want to bring my ‘A’ game every day."
Bryant was an instant hit with the record crowd of 19,437, drawing cheers every time he caught a pass. Fast and quick, Bryant looked smooth as he came out of his cuts and wowed fans with several nifty catches.
In one drill, he brought a pass down with one hand near the sideline and stayed inbounds.
"I had a good time," Bryant said. "It’s great to play in front of so many fans. They gave me great support. I owe it to the fans to work hard when I’m out there."
Cowboys coach Wade Phillips said he wasn’t surprised to see Bryant connect with the crowd.
"People recognized him," Phillips said. "They know he’s our No. 1 draft pick. What they see is a guy running and catching the ball, and they don’t look at whether he’s being covered. They just saw him catching those passes. I thought he gave good effort and caught the ball well, but I’ll have to look at the film of practice and see how he ran all his routes."
That said, Phillips left no doubt what he thinks of Bryant’s talent.
"He looked as good as any player at any position, on the first day, as anybody I’ve seen in a long time," Phillips said. "He’s got a lot of ability."
Right now Bryant's stock is higher in keeper leagues, but if he wins the starting job opposite Miles Austin his stock will rise in redraft leagues. He's currently at 54 in our rankings, with his competition for the starting job, Roy Williams, at 45. They could easily flip-flop before the regular season begins.