Lufkin fans react to Cowboys decision to part ways with Dez Bryant

Friday the 13th was horrific for Cowboy fans in East Texas that were hoping the team would decide to keep wide receiver Dez Bryant.

Reports of the Cowboys decision were first reported by The NFL's Ian Rapport  who said Friday that after a short meeting between Bryant and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones he was released from the team.

"It was a short meeting between #Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Dez Bryant. After months speculation, Bryant was released and a marquee 29-year old free agent is on the market midway through April with several WR needy teams," Rapport said in a social media post.

Bryant also tweeted about the release with a seemingly optimistic attitude.

Jones also released a statement on the move.

"As an organization we hold Dez Bryant in the highest regard, and we are grateful for his passion, spirit and contributions to this team for the past eight years. He will always be a valued member of our family. Dez and I share a personal and professional relationship that is very strong, and he is one of just a handful of players with whom I have become that close to over the past 30 years. This was not an easy decision.  It was made based upon doing what we believe is in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. We arrived at this crossroad collectively with input from several voices within the organization. Ultimately we determined it was time to go in a new direction," Jones said.

In his hometown, fans took the news hard.

"I remember in high school, he would make these great catches," Dwight Gibson said. "All he wanted to do was go pro and play for the Dallas Cowboys so that had to hurt him."

Curtis Murphy first saw Bryant in high school when he would play in an adult flag football league. Murphy saw the potential in Bryant on the field and knows the move to cut him was not because of his talent.

"I think it is personal," Murphy said. "It is like a tug of war and they are just trying to prove a point that [Jerry] has the last say so that Dez can get cut regardless of who he is."

In Lufkin "88" jersies are everywhere. Form kids to adults, Bryant is the go to in NFL fashion. Joe Cates is a die-hard fan. Around Lufkin he is known as Cowboy Joe. His blue Bryant jersey will not be going into the trash.

"I will be putting it into the closet," Cates said. "I am the type of person of 'What are you doing for me now'.  As soon as you leave the team you are gone. I am not done liking him. He's just not a Dallas Cowboy anymore."

The meeting between Bryant and Jones was set for Friday earlier this week. It was hard not to notice the meeting was on Friday the 13th.

"I don't believe in that stuff," Cates said. "I thought this was coming three weeks ago."

The Cowboys have already taken steps to replace Bryant. Earlier in the off season the team signed Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson. Bryant played for the Cowboys for 8 seasons. Bryant represented Dallas in three Pro Bowls and was an Al-Pro selection in 2014.

By cutting Bryant now, the team was able to save $8 million.

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