Dez Bryant: 'Garrett guys' aided in release by Cowboys

Dez Bryant believes his rather abrupt release from the Dallas Cowboys was partly the culmination of players and coaches on Jason Garrett's staff who wanted him gone.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with NFL Network's Jane Slater on NFL Total Access, the wide receiver blamed "Garrett guys" for spearheading the Cowboys' decision to end his eight-year career with the team.

"I'll say this right here: I believe that 'Garrett guys' [are to blame]. I would say that," he said in response to a question from Slater on the idea that some teammates had a role in the decision to release him.

Bryant wouldn't say who the "Garrett guys" are, but he was irked at not being selected as a team captain last season. Dak Prescott, Jason Witten, Sean Lee, Dan Bailey, Tyrone Crawford and Orlando Scandrick (now with Redskins) each served as captains in 2017.

"I won't put no names out, but they know, and I want them to know I know," Bryant said. "I'll shoot them a text message and let them know. Little do they know is, you know, they can wear that 'C' all they want to, but in that locker room ... they know who they communicate with. Everybody knows where the real love is at. I'm not throwing anybody under the bus, but that's the difference between me and them."

Bryant said he believes it was difficult for team owner Jerry Jones to release him. However, he feels there were other forces within the Cowboys' organization that ultimately were pushing for him to be cut.

"Jerry Jones, he loved me to death and I loved him too," Bryant said. "I honestly believe in my heart that this was a hard decision for him. But when it's five, six guys at a table against one guy, you got to do it.

"... It was an unfair situation because if they wanted to get rid of me, they could have told me that. ... I would have respected it."

Bryant said he wanted to stay in Dallas, but his expensive contract and declining play jeopardized his status within the team all offseason. The 29-year-old was due $12.5 million base salary in 2018 and was set to cost $16.5 million against the salary cap. Even though he stated publicly all offseason that he had no intention of taking a pay cut, Bryant said he changed his stance.

When asked if he was willing to take a pay reduction, Bryant responded, "Yeah, if it was offered.

"The only question I was going to have for that was: Even if I did take a pay cut, am I going to be able to come in to work and be happy? Will I be able to enjoy it? Because I already got a feeling that this person don't like me, this person don't like me."

Here are some other topics Bryant touched on during his interview with Slater:

Bryant wants to play for an NFC East team: "I won't say any teams, but being in the division, that's a huge possibility. That's a huge possibility. That's something that I want. ... It's personal. Like I said, it's very personal. I already had a plan of training and getting my mind right. I just want to do it that much more."

On not understanding why he wasn't named a Cowboys team captain: "I think me not being named a team captain was mostly on a personal level. I'm just going to be honest because I don't understand why I wouldn't be a team captain. Like I said, you've seen my teammates, you know? They don't even understand the decision.

"If I was to go interview those staff workers, what else would they tell you? We love his energy. I'm me. I'm being exactly who I am. If I ever had a problem with anybody, then I'll address it. If I said something about this person, I guarantee you I already said it to this person. It's like I'm just not that type of guy. I'm about respect. ... I care about every guy in that locker room and nobody in that locker room can say that I don't, and I'm pretty sure they won't say that."

On wanting to prove people wrong: "I'm just tired of being a scapegoat, tired of all of it. I'm a real guy. I'm a real guy and I just want to prove and I'm going to continue to keep proving that on and off of the field. Like I said, when you do wrong to people, nothing good happens on the other end. I don't care how great it looks on the outside. It's all about what it is on the inside. ... I come from dirt, so I got strong belief and I got strong faith. So it is what it is."