It’s now been more than two and a half years since Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith suffered a career-threatening injury in his last college football game, and he may finally be back to 100 percent healthy.
Smith missed his entire first NFL season, in 2016, while he recovered from the injury, and although he played all 16 games in 2017, he didn’t look quite as quick on the field as he had looked as a star at Notre Dame. But in last night’s preseason opener, Smith covered the field quickly and appeared to be all the way back.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett has been impressed with what he’s seen out of Smith in training camp.
“He’s gotten better and better physically, coming off the injury, doing his hard work. The more he plays, you see he gets more and more comfortable, more and more confident and he simply plays better,” Garrett said. “Understanding the play, understanding your reads, and when the ball is snapped you just react instinctively. . . . I think we’re seeing more and more of that from Jaylon.”
Smith was dealt a tough blow when he suffered the knee injury, but he never got down and always insisted he’d eventually work himself back into the kind of athlete he was in college. It appears that day has arrived.