LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - With just a day's notice, former Lufkin Panther and NFL superstar Dez Bryant arrived at Lufkin's Kit McConnico Park in grand fashion for his announced "Family Fun Day."
The festivities started with free barbecue at noon and Bryant arrived at the park around 2:30 p.m.
Hundreds arrived at the park to welcome Bryant. Many throwing up the X and wearing jerseys with his number 88 on it.
"I'm at a loss for words just to see all these people showing this support," Bryant said from a mobile platform. "But this is why I do it. I do it for y'all. This means so much to me. Y'all the only reason I go. Y'all my engine I promise. I'm going to let people know Lufkin is No. 1 in my heart. You people are No. 1 in my heart. That's not going to change."
Bryant announced the event Wednesday on his Facebook page and said there will be kickball and free haircuts for grade-school children. Bryant also said on his Facebook page that he spent $13,000 for barbecue for the event.
"You see all the jerseys," Bryant said. "Not only mine they are supporting all the squad Dak and Zeke too. I think that is pretty cool."
The Cowboys traded their 27th overall pick along with a third round choice to New England for the 24th overall pick in the first round and a fourth round selection to pick Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft, the Dallas Cowboys Website stated. Dallas picked Bryant even though he missed most of his senior season at Oklahoma State.
Bryant is now in his eighth season in the NFL. Bryant is looking for America's team to rebound after getting beat by the Green Bay Packers in the second round of the playoffs last year.
"Even though we lost we saw we had some pretty good stuff. We are going to get back to it and hopefully capitalize," Bryant said.
Bryant and his teammates report to Oxnard, CA for their annual training Camp on Saturday. This was the last vacation he would get before the season gets underway. it is a season with high expectations and concerns with star running back Ezekiel Elliot possibly being handed a suspension by the league which is currently investigating the second year player on possible domestic violence that happened while he was a player at Ohio State University.
"It's just a stepping stone that he is going to get over," Bryant said. "Zeke is a young guy. I am not blaming him on that. Fresh from college playing for America's team, it is kind of hard to deal with."
During his senior season with the Lufkin Panthers, Bryant was named a Parade All American. He caught 53 passes for 1,207 passes and 21 touchdowns that year, according to the dallascowboys.com Website. In addition, ESPN.com ranked him as the 29th best overall high school football player, the Dallas Cowboys Web page stated.