Continued from page 1

The way Bryant described it, he wasn’t yelling at receivers coach Ray Sherman, he just venting to him. He also got things off his chest talking to running back Tashard Choice, his sideline confidant.

“Me not touching the ball and us winning or losing, especially if I’m double covered, there’s no need to fuss, no need to fight about it or get frustrated about it,” Bryant said. “It’s all a part of the game. You just got to try to play through it the best way you can. I feel like that’s what I’ve done. That’s all I can do.”

Bryant said friends have warned to be careful about his emotions. He’s also spoke to Irvin. His advice: “Stay hungry.”

Even with his oh-fer in a loss to the Saints, Bryant remains among the leading rookies in all receiving statistics. He’s tied for first in TD catches (six), alone in second in yards receiving (547) and tied for third in catches (44).

In other words, he’s lived up to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ expectations when he traded up to draft him and anointed him as a future star by giving him No. 88, hallowed in club history because of Irvin and Drew Pearson.

But his introduction to the NFL has been rough. There’s been controversy over the Miami general manager asking about his mom’s lifestyle, headlines made when he refused to carry a veteran’s shoulder pads (not realizing it was just a rookie ritual) and when payback came in the form of a $54,896 dinner tab.

Next up is a Colts defense that ranks among the best in the NFL at stopping the pass, albeit mainly because teams to choose to run against them instead. Indianapolis is among the worst at stopping the run, plus teams want to leave Peyton Manning on the sideline as much as possible.

If there are any plays to be made, look for No. 88 to try making them.

“Of course,” he said. “When you’re number is called on, you’ve got to make the play.”

NOTES: RB Marion Barber (calf) didn’t practice again, making it less likely he’ll play Sunday. … LB Keith Brooking (foot) also didn’t practice again. His absence Wednesday was thought to have been merely midweek rest for a veteran, but perhaps there’s more to it. … Bryant was added to the list under limited participation because of a back injury.