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Rusty Dez Bryant eager ‘to get back in beast mode’

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Dez Bryant on Monday took part in his first padded practice in 224 days, so it wasn’t surprising that he struggled a bit, dropping a handful of passes during drills.

The Dallas Cowboys wide receiver understands it will take some time to knock off the rust after such a lengthy practice layoff but utilized a term made famous by the recently retired Marshawn Lynch to articulate his eagerness to return to form.

“It was better than I thought,” Bryant said, via The Dallas Morning News. “I thought I was going to be a little bit tired. But that wasn’t the case. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to get back in beast mode.”

Bryant played in a career-low nine games last season while dealing with myriad injuries from the get-go. His 31 receptions, 401 yards and three touchdowns also marked career lows, although Tony Romo’s extended absence from the field obviously contributed to Bryant’s sub-par numbers.

Foot and ankle surgery in January has up to this point limited Bryant’s activities this past offseason. A blister on his heel currently is hampering him as well.

“He’s rusty. He’s got a lot of work to do, and he knows it,” Cowboys receivers coach Derek Dooley said. “He’s still got his skills. The good news is his foot is great, moving around well. He’ll get back into his rhythm.”

While Bryant is working hard to get back into practice shape — much less game shape — as training camp gets going, it’s clear his mouth is in midseason form, as Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne can attest.

“He was chirping at me because I guess I got him pretty good,” Claiborne said of Bryant’s talk during release drills. “You know how Dez do. He was saying, ‘Wait until we start running routes.’ I said, ‘I’m ready for that. I’m here.'”

The Cowboys are banking on both a healthy Bryant and Romo this upcoming season to help the team rebound from a nightmarish 4-12 campaign last season. It’s hardly surprising that Bryant has struggled a bit early on in camp. But he nevertheless has plenty of time to return to form before the season opener.