Jaylon Smith expects to be “better than Notre Dame 100 percent”

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No longer in need of an ankle foot orthosis (AFO) brace for drop foot, Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith has no more reminders of his devastating knee injury from two years ago. Instead, he sees only a bright future.

“From the start, people thought I’d never be able to play the game again,” Smith said, via Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News. “I’ve been able to accomplish that and each and every day I’ve gotten better. Last year, each game I improved.

“I’m getting there. I’m going to be better than Notre Dame 100 percent. My overall knowledge of the game has improved each and every day, and [I’m physically] going to improve as well.”

Smith’s knee injury in the final game of his Notre Dame career — on New Year’s Day 2016 — severely damaged his peroneal nerve. He sat out all of 2016 in a redshirt season of sorts before playing 16 games with six starts last season while becoming one of the rare NFL players to play with an AFO brace.

He doesn’t expect to need it this season.

“I’m happy,” Smith said. “There’s a great chance that I won’t have to play with it this year. I haven’t wore it since the offseason training began, [and I] want to keep it going.”

10 responses to “Jaylon Smith expects to be “better than Notre Dame 100 percent”

  1. Just being able to play again at a reduced level was an amazing story. If he indeed becomes what most thought he was capable of before the injury it’s a story for the ages….and a nod to the advances in modern medicine. Think of how many careers that were cut short due to injury in the past could have been extended with today’s technology. One Gayle Sayers comes to mind immediately.

  2. Lets be honest… he was awesome in college, and he could be a good NFL player. But if we are truly being honest he’s never going to be the same as he was pre-injury.

  3. Most of the mistakes he made last year were from lack of knowledge and experience, if he hits the books and the health is there to follow it’s reasonable to to think he can only get better

  4. Irish Hoodlum says:

    To bad I don’t think the team feels the same that’s why the drafted a LB with their first pick
    The last time i checked the Cowboys have 3 linebackers on the field at the same time and Smith and VanderEsche will be on the field at the same time…..SMH!

    Also i am very happy for Jaylon, he seems like a down to earth intelligent man, unlike most of the turds who play in the NFL.

  5. Irish Hoodlum says:
    May 16, 2018 at 10:51 pm
    To bad I don’t think the team feels the same that’s why the drafted a LB with their first pick

    The Cowboys drafted the new LB due to the loss of starting LB Hitchens to the KC Chiefs not because of fear that Smith couldn’t play.

  6. Well he was a liability last year when on the field. And with the loss of hitch we’re going to need him more than ever this year. I’m hoping for a huge jump in performance this season or I’m afraid the team will move on from him. Would be a shame to because he’s obviously super intelligent and was a nightmare in college. Hoping he can get back to form.

  7. He was a good player in college, hopefully he can get back to where he was but let’s be real here. Dak is due a big contract soon, by his own admission he is going to be the greatest Dallas QB, Elliot’s big pay day is coming, Lawrence is getting the franchise tag and now Jaylon has to blow his horn to get paid.

  8. Richard will reurge dallas’ doomsday defense of old to the new “Legion of Doom”
    Fresher input from a revamped coaching staff combined with new blood in the locker room and a core of the essential vets and Dallas will resume prominence (granted injury bugs & suspensions demons have subsided)
    Jaylon & Co are on the rise again
    Then there’s rookie contributions to boot from day1

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