There has been cautious optimism about Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith throughout the offseason.
The second-year linebacker that missed him entire rookie season after a devastating knee injury in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl left him with nerve damage and a case of drop foot has been able to participate in most of Dallas’ offseason program.
Smith has been confident throughout the spring that he’d be ready to play this season. Now Smith says he’s ready to go.
“I feel like me. I look like me. I am me,” Smith said, via Tom Pelissero of USA Today.
“I’m Jaylon Smith. Ready to play some ball.”
Smith’s nerve continues to regenerate and he still wears a brace to help address his drop foot issue.
Smith was a potential top ten pick last year before the knee injury brought his football future into question. The Cowboys took a flier on Smith with a second-round pick in hopes that his knee would recover sufficiently enough to be a factor in the future. Their investment may be about to pay off.
For all intents and purposes, Smith will have his rookie season this year. While he’s made progress, he still isn’t 100 percent either and the Cowboys will need to manage his workload at times.
But considering that a year ago it was completely uncertain whether Smith would ever be capable of doing even this much again, he’s come a long way already.