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Dez Bryant loses Dallas Cowboys' punt-return job

  • By Kevin Patra
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The Dallas Cowboys will strip wide receiver Dez Bryant of his punt-returning duties.

The dynamic but enigmatic Bryant muffed then fumbled a punt last week and has frustrated coaches with his decision making the past several games. When asked Thursday if he still would return punts, Bryant told reporters: "I don't think so," according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday that the biggest concern with Bryant in the return game was turnovers.

"At the end of the day, to prevent the turnover is the No. 1 goal," Jones said. "The kicking game, all phases of it, when you make mistakes in it, they're accentuated."

Bryant's big-play ability couldn't outweigh what coaches must have felt was too risky a prospect of a turnover to allow him to continue to return kicks. Bryant is averaging 5.5 yards per return on 12 attempts after gaining 103 yards on 15 attempts in 2011 and a whopping 215 yards on 15 attempts his rookie season.

Dwayne Harris and Cole Beasley split the duties after Bryant's muffed punt against the New York Giants last week.

No. 88, however, plans to lobby Cowboys coach Jason Garrett to let him back on the return team.

"I'm going to get back in coach's ear," Bryant said. "I think it will be hard for him to tell me no. It's not hard for me to catch a punt. I just need to feel it in and stop looking upfield and think before catching the rock. That should be my first objective, to catch the ball and then go make a play."

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra


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