With a four-month-old son at home, Bryant is happy to have the security of the new five-year contract he agreed to with Seattle in March. But Bryant still feels that he has plenty to prove on the field.
"You've always got something to prove," Bryant said. "A lot of guys get big contracts and then they kind of go in the tank because you get comfortable. So I feel like not so much to justify it, but I have bigger expectations than just a contract. You hear that all the time, but I definitely want to be a guy that when my playing days are over with and they think about the Seahawks, they think about big Red Bryant."
During his very short time on the free-agent market this year, the New England Patriots were one of the teams to express interest in the mammoth Bryant. Considering they were coming off a trip to the Super Bowl and with the success the Patriots have enjoyed over the past decade, Bryant was flattered New England showed interest in him. It helped prove to him that he's become an impact player in the league.
"I was actually surprised that when the Patriots were making a push for me, given their track record in terms of everything that franchise stands for and coach (Bill) Belichick, he's arguably one of the greatest coaches, for him to pursue me it made me feel even more confident in my ability and what I bring to the table," Bryant said.
Bryant has come a long way in the last two seasons. After two virtually nondescript seasons with the Seahawks after being selected in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL draft, Bryant thought he was on the chopping block. New head coach Pete Carroll was moving him to defensive end and Bryant was sure he was about to get cut.
Instead, Carroll found a role for Bryant as a run-stopping threat at the end position - a move that helped jumpstart his career.
While struggling to find playing time on poor teams, Bryant began to wonder if it would ever come together for him.
"I'd be lying to you if I said I didn't have doubts," Bryant said. "My first couple years dealing with injuries on a 4-12 and 5-11 team and still was inactive... that definitely weighs on you.
"A lot of times you have to just continue to work, continue to keep a belief in yourself although it might be hard at times. I just feel like I showed a lot of perseverance," Bryant said. "I've got to give coach Carroll a lot of credit for giving me the opportunity to excel."