LUFKIN - He's known for catching 60-yard passes in the end zone as well as terrorizing defense backs in the league. But for one day, Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant decided to take his talents back home to Lufkin. For him, it's almost as if he never left.
The former Lufkin Panther was thrilled to come back to community that raised him.
"Like I told them this is what I do it for I love them and and they're the reason why I go, and God blessed me with the ability to do something special, not just on that football field, but I want to do something special in this community," explains Bryant.
For a few current Lufkin Panthers, meeting a player of this caliber is something they never thought would happen.
"I only watch him on TV, and haven't seen him in person very much. I've only seen him once it'll be a great experience to come out to the park and see Dez," says Panthers wide receiver Jatavion Tutt.
Lufkin defensive end Breylon Garcia agrees.
"I was excited, I never really met him just to come out here and see what all he's done, it's crazy man. I look up to him he came from the same situation, and he's like a hometown hero, you know."
In addition to some great BBQ, Dez said he wanted to play kickball and lucky for him, the Panthers were up for the challenge.
"I think it'll come a little bit harder for him playing kickball I think football come a little bit natural for him," says Panthers cornerback Demond McKelvey.
"I know they're ready to roll on me I believe that," explains Bryant.
"You have to compete through everything, you can't just play kick ball for fun you have to win," says Tutt.
"You know I've been working out you know I'm ready for them," explains Bryant.
"I'm trying to knock it out the park every time," says Garcia.
"I want to get to beat him if I can," says Tutt.
In communities around Texas, high school football brings people together, and if you doubt that, look at the effect one player has on the community.
"It's just an honor just to be a Panther I believe that anytime that somebody says 'Dez' I'm thinking wow I can be in his shoes so I'm just honored to be a panther," explains McKelvey.