Dez Bryant acknowledges the past nine weeks haven't been easy.
The Saints have added a new weapon, and the costs are coming into clearer focus.
Sitting and watching NFL games on TV instead of playing in them was tough.
"Lot of ups and downs," Bryant said. "Wanting to play football. Thinking about playing football. Thinking about preparing for the next year."
Those ups and downs are over now.
After missing the first half of this season on the heels of his eight seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, Bryant is playing football again.
The New Orleans Saints' newest wide receiver practiced with his new team for the first time Thursday, a day after reaching a 1-year deal.
"A new chapter," Bryant called it.
What brought Dez Bryant to the New Orleans Saints?
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Bryant said it's a good fit joining a team filled with superstars on its roster.
"For one, who wouldn't want to play with Drew Brees?" Bryant said. "Not to take away from nobody else, but you have a guy like Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, (Ben) Watson, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram."
Just how soon Bryant joins those players in the lineup remains to be seen.
"We'll take it one day at a time and see how much he can digest and give him parts to the plan," Saints coach Sean Payton said Thursday morning before Bryant's first practice. "There is a third-down element, a red-zone element that we think he provides versatility for. We aren't going to move him all over the formation in the first three weeks, four weeks he's here."
Bryant's teammates welcomed him with open arms. Ingram and Thomas both posted pictures of Bryant to their Instagram account before Thursday's practice.
"We welcome all dogs, all beasts to the Saints," Ingram said. "It's good to have a guy like that. Passionate, who has had a lot of success in the league, to add him to our group. We are excited about it. He's another playmaker."
Dez Bryant has arrived in New Orleans and will have his first practice with the Saints on Thursday, a day after agreeing to a one-year deal wi…
Bryant, a three-time Pro Bowler, caught 69 passes for 838 yards and six touchdowns last season with the Cowboys before being released in April.
The Saints began talking to him around that time, but those talked slowed down once the Saints drafted receiver Tre'Quan Smith.
But with Ted Ginn Jr. being placed on injured reserve in October and Cam Meredith being moved to injured reserve on Thursday, Payton felt the time was right to bring in some receivers to work out on Tuesday.
"His workout was good," Payton said. "He is a little heavy, which is a pretty common (not having gone through training camp). Probably five pounds."
Bryant and the Saints reached an agreement a day later, much to the approval of Thomas, who made a reference to Sunday's cellphone touchdown celebration when talking about his new teammate.
"It’s a blessing," Thomas said. "I guess when I picked up that cellphone and made that call, it was God answering my prayers.”
Bryant will be counted on to help a receiver corp that hasn't produced much other than Thomas, who has 70 receptions for 880 yards and five touchdowns. The team's second- and third-leading receivers in both yards and receptions are Kamara, a running back, and Watson, a tight end. Smith, the rookie wide receiver who is fourth in receptions with 12 for 214 yards, was impressed with what he saw in Bryant on Day 1.
"You saw a guy who is enthusiastic and cheering everybody on even though he didn't practice much," Smith said. "You can tell he belongs here and wants to be here. He brings energy. He's a veteran, so I know he's going to learn the book pretty fast."
Bryant wouldn't make a guess on how soon he'll be able to hit the field and start hauling in passes from Brees.
"I'm leaving that up to coach," Bryant said. "Whatever he has for me, I'm getting myself ready for it."
He's been getting ready since April when the Cowboys let him go.
He'll get a chance to play against his old team Nov. 29 when he returns to his old stomping grounds as the Saints face the Cowboys in Arlington, Texas.
"I'll be excited to get to see all the Cowboys fans," Bryant said. "I still love those guys. I love my ex-teammates. They are forever my family. But I'm here on a new chapter."
The Saints are bringing Cam Meredith's season to a close.
It's a chapter he's anxiously awaiting to start. He hasn't played in a game since Dec. 31, when he caught three passes for 24 yards in Dallas' 6-0 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
"That chapter (in Dallas) has closed," Bryant said. "That's something that I had to accept. I accept that and have moved on. I'm a Saint now, and I'm excited about that. I'm looking forward to moving on with these guys."