Jaylon Smith: Whenever they say I can play, I’ll play

AP

The Cowboys will take part in the first preseason game of the year against the Cardinals on Thursday night, but it looks like Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith’s first NFL game action will wait a little longer.

Smith has been practicing with the team during camp after spending his rookie year on injured reserve due to a knee injury that included nerve problems, but coach Jason Garrett didn’t say whether he would play. Owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday that Smith is unlikely to play in the Hall of Fame Game, however, and Smith says he’s ready whenever they call his number.

“I don’t know if I’m going to play or not,” Smith said, via ESPN.com. “It’s a matter of if they’ll let me. Whenever they’ll tell me I can go play, I’ll go play. I’ll just take it day by day. That’s what we’ve been doing. Really looking forward to getting some reps.”

Smith’s presence at practice and in contact drills like the short yardage work the Cowboys did on Tuesday suggests it won’t be too much longer before they let him loose in a game if he is indeed on the bench Thursday night. That will mark a big step for Smith and the first view of how he might fit into the defense come the regular season.