Oklahoma St. WR Dez Bryant regrets lying to NCAA about visting Sanders house
Suspended Oklahoma State receiver Dez Bryant says he regrets lying to NCAA investigators about visiting the home of Deion Sanders.
But he insists that Sanders is a mentor and did not influence him to sign with agent Eugene Parker, whom he met four weeks ago.
"The way he (the NCAA investigator) was asking me, "Did I have any relationship with Deion Sanders?', he was making it seem like I did something wrong,'' Bryant said. "He asked me. "Did I go out to Deion Sanders' house?' I told him no, which I really did. And I came back and told him before it all blew all up that I had visited Deion Sanders' house.
"I made a mistake because I lied. I regret what I did and I respect their (the NCAA's) decision.''
The NCAA suspended Bryant after just three games. He still managed to catch 17 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bucs have a big need at receiver and own the third overall draft choice, but Bryant is projected to go somewhere in the top 10 selections.
Bryant, 21, is training at Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa. He said Friday that Sanders did not talk to him about signing with Parker, who also represented the former Falcons, Cowboys and 49ers star.
"Deion was my mentor and I just feel like he's a great guy,'' Bryant said.
"(Parker) is my agent, and just to speak on that, I just want people to know Eugene and Deion, neither one of them talked to me about each other. Deion never talked to me about Eugene Parker. My first time meeting Eugene Parker was about four weeks ago. I just felt like the NCAA thought me and him had something going on and I didn't even know the man. And they thought Deion was a runner for him and it wasn't anything like that. Deion just wanted to be my mentor and make sure everything was right. I just felt like there was nothing wrong with that.''
Bryant said he first met Sanders with former Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree at the South Dallas Cafe in Dallas, but he was unsure of the date.
"I remember meeting Michael Crabtree. If I'm not mistaken, I think it's the first time I'd ever seen Deion. He was with him. I don't remember the exact date. He was with him. We exchanged numbers and he's been checking up on me ever since.
"What me and Deion had, he wasn't doing anything illegal. He wasn't giving me anything. All he was doing was just talking to me about life. I just felt like there's nothing wrong with that.''
Bryant said it hurt him not to play his entire junior season at Oklahoma State but does not think it will have a negative impact on his NFL draft value.
"I don't think it's going to hurt me at all because I got the suspension,'' Bryant said. "The only thing that hurt me was not being with my teammates. With me laying off, I just feel like I got a lot of rest and I'm injury-free. I look at it in a good way.
Bryant said he will attend the NFL scouting combine on Feb. 24 in Indianapolis and will participate in Oklahoma State's pro day.
"Football is what I live for,'' Bryant said. "I took it real strong. At one point, I thought I couldn't maintain. But I just had to look at the future and I felt like if I can get through this, I can get through anything. As long as I continue to play, everything will be great.
"I'll just mentally prepare myself for the future. What's happened has happened. There's nothing neither one of us can do about it. The NCAA, the way I look at it, they're like the Fed, you know? You can't change their decision...there's nothing I can do about that, so I just went on.''
Bryant's news conference, which was held in a large ballroom at the Embassy Suites in Tampa, was attended by five print media reporters.
He said it was difficult to remain in shape away from a team setting, but his training at Saddlebrook will continue until the NFL scouting combine.
"It was hard for me because I had to do things on my own,'' Bryant said. "My best friend, he would work out with me, but it just wasn't the same, it wasn't the same. I'm a real competitive person and I just feel like there's got to be bodies around me, athletic bodies around me, for me to train to my max.''