IRVING, Texas | Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant knew there'd be payback for his refusal to carry shoulder pads in training camp, like rookies are supposed to do. The check came due this week at the traditional rookie-picks-up-the-tab dinner.
The damage: $54,896.
The meal was supposed to be only for offensive players, but more than 20 guys showed up at a steakhouse — and brought their appetites, said Bryant's adviser, David Wells. The story first was reported by espn.com.
"People had goooood meals," Wells said, laughing. "If you'd never had lobster before, you had it that night."
Steaks, fish and plenty of beverages made for a fun evening, albeit at a high price. Then again, Bryant is making $2.8 million this season so he can afford it.
"Dez knew what he had to do and he took responsibility for it," said Wells, who wasn't there but saw the bill. "He made the best of it, nothing negative. He had a good time with the guys, bonding with his teammates."
Traditions like carrying pads and paying for meals are typical for NFL newbies. However, early in training camp, Bryant wasn't aware he was expected to schlep anyone's shoulder pads, which caused a bit of a tiff with veteran Roy Williams.
This time, Bryant knew what was coming.
"He just didn't know that many people were going to show up," Wells said.
Linebacker Keith Brooking wasn't among the diners. A week earlier, though, he was part of the meal paid for by rookie linebacker Sean Lee, a second-round pick.
"It wasn't near as expensive," Brooking said. "We weren't too hard on him. We weren't very nice, either. But it was fair, I think."
Bryant and other players declined comment Wednesday, though linebacker Leon Williams had a shiny silver bag from the steakhouse in his locker.
Did Bryant at least take home a doggie bag?
"I would hope he got a dog house out of it," Wells said.