The Dallas Cowboys are a better team when Dez Bryant is returning punts. But another injury suffered during the receiver's special-teams work has team owner Jerry Jones pondering his young star's role.
Bryant was an explosive presence during Dallas' first drive in Sunday night's 27-24 loss to the New York Jets, catching two passes for 45 yards and one touchdown. But the second-year pro was limited after bruising his quad during a punt return later in the first quarter. Bryant also dealt with cramping issues in the game.
Jones hinted afterward that Bryant's role could change.
"I'm just saying he's getting hurt on returns," Jones told ESPN.com. "He got knocked out last year and got limited in this game on a punt return."
Bryant's rookie season was cut short in 2010 when he suffered a broken ankle during a kickoff return. The Cowboys already had decided he wouldn't return kickoffs this season.
Bryant, 22, is known for good hands to go with his game-changing speed and quickness, making him an ideal fit for the return role. He doesn't want to give up the job, but he knows that Jones has final say in all matters Cowboy-related.
"I love doing it," said Bryant, who finished with three catches for 71 yards and one TD against the Jets. "I just feel like things happen. I love it a lot. I feel like any moment, I can make a big splash on it.
"But, hey, it's whatever Mr. Jones wants. If he don't want me doing it, it'd be sad. I would love to continue doing it, but hey, he makes the calls."