According to ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon, Bryant went on 103.3 FM ESPN in Dallas on Monday and claimed that he can do whatever Johnson can on the football field:
I believe I can do whatever he can do. I think it's just a pride thing. When it comes to football, just being on the field, it's a mindset and having a mentality. I honestly believe when I'm there, I'll be feeling like there's nothing I can't do. Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I'm going to do it.
I always feel like there's more. I think that's just a mindset you're supposed to have.
Bryant did give Megatron an immense amount of respect and extended props prior to making the statement, saying, "Truth be told, I don't compare myself to nobody. I think Calvin's the best at what he [does]. I think I'm the best at what I do."
“Listen, I like Dez. I think he’s one of the best receivers in the game right now,” Burleson said. “Very talented. Fast, big, strong. He possesses all the tools to possibly be as good as Calvin. But he’s not Calvin Johnson. No way, no how. Sorry, Dez. Keep it real.”
The fourth-year wideout also complimented Johnson’s ability to generate yardage after the catch and go after the ball while it is in the air, but Bryant noted that he is capable of doing all of those things just as well.
Statistics help back up Bryant’s confident boasting. The 24-year-old has hauled in 42 receptions for 569 yards and six touchdowns in seven games in 2013. In comparison, the 28-year-old Johnson has 33 catches for 492 yards and six scores in six appearances, as he missed Detroit's Week 5 contest with a knee injury.
Bryant’s YAC is also higher in 2013, as the Oklahoma State product averages 5.9 yards after a completion compared to Megatron’s 5.3, per SportingCharts.com.
Jerry Jones, the outspoken owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, may not agree with his employee’s recent statement.
Per MacMahon, Jones appeared on KRLD-FM Tuesday and conceded that Bryant has some work to do in order to reach Johnson’s level:
I think that Johnson at Detroit has got to be the best receiver or best end target, if you want to put it like that, the best guy to go to right now in the league. Dez can aspire to be that and has a chance to be that.
Johnson has put together a decorated resume already in the NFL. He has gone for over 1,100 receiving yards in the last three seasons, with 33 touchdowns between 2010 and 2012. Last season he set the single-season receiving yards record with 1,964 yards.
The record was previously held by the legendary Jerry Rice, and Johnson topped that mark while playing with broken fingers.
These two elite receivers have a chance to square off in Week 8, as the Lions host the Cowboys in a highly anticipated showdown between two NFC contenders.
The stakes have definitely been raised after these latest comments, and it will be quite interesting to see which wideout ends up having the better outing.