Wide receiver Dez Bryant’s brief time in Baltimore appears to be up.
In a series of tweets Tuesday night, the former Dallas Cowboys star said he “realized quick Baltimore wasn’t the place for me.” Bryant, who signed with the Ravens in October and made his first NFL appearance since 2017 in Week 9, is a pending free agent.
“No bad blood,” Bryant, 32, wrote. “That’s their way of doing things so you gotta respect it.”
In six games with the Ravens, Bryant caught six passes on 11 targets for 47 yards and two touchdowns. His biggest performance came in a Week 11 loss to the Tennessee Titans, when he had four receptions for 28 yards.
Bryant, who tore his Achilles tendon in 2018 and sat out the 2019 season while recovering from the injury, rarely showed the explosiveness he did as a three-time Pro Bowl selection with the Cowboys. Bryant’s playing time tailed off toward the end of the season, and he played just 18 combined offensive snaps in two playoff games.
When a fan on Twitter wrote that Bryant should’ve been given a “better opportunity,” Bryant said he wasn’t bothered by his playing time and that he was thankful for the chance to play in Baltimore. But he added: “I flashed my abilities 2 the point [coach John] Harbaugh asked was I ready to play because he thought I was ready.”
Bryant, who wrote that the chemistry with his quarterback has to be “on point,” said he had a good relationship with Lamar Jackson on and off the field. But he said there were other Ravens receivers who understood the team’s offensive concepts better than he did. “You can’t jeopardize that,” he tweeted.
While Bryant’s arrival did not lift the Ravens’ wide receiver room to new heights — the position group finished last in the NFL in both catches and yardage, and Jackson struggled to find his Most Valuable Player form as a passer — teammates and coaches hailed Bryant’s work ethic and knowledge of the game during the season.
He’d tried out for the Ravens during training camp in August, and his personal coach, David Robinson, told The Baltimore Sun that Bryant was “licking his chops for the opportunity to play with a team like the Ravens.” But he struggled with his conditioning, and he remained unsigned until October.
After another tryout, Bryant was signed to the Ravens’ practice squad on Oct. 28. After two promotions, he joined the 53-man roster on Nov. 28. “Beyond thankful,” he tweeted after signing the contract.
“I feel good physically,” Bryant said before a Dec. 8 game against Dallas, which the NFL barred him from playing in after a last-minute positive test result for the coronavirus. “I think the coaches, they’re doing what they feel is best for me because sometimes I think I can bite off more than I can chew. But whatever they have for me, I’m going to be prepared for it. I’m excited. I’m going to let the coaches do what they feel is best, and I’m just going to follow their lead.”
With wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay and James Proche II under contract, Bryant was not expected to re-sign with the Ravens this offseason. The team could address the position with its first-round draft pick or in free agency.
Bryant, who’s 18th among active NFL receivers with 7,506 career receiving yards, said on Twitter that he plans to play for two more years, “and that’s it for me.”