Breaking news: We’re excited to see him come back, Cowboys linebacker returns
The Cowboys will continue to be patient and use caution with linebacker Jaylon Smith as he returns after more than a year of rehab. Smith reported with the team’s rookies Wednesday, getting in some work ahead of the veterans despite being a second-year player.
Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday that when the Cowboys begin practice in California on Monday that Smith will practice every other day as he did in the offseason.
“He’s done well, really had a great spring and handled the work on the field really well,” Garrett said. “He’s been outstanding in his rehab, and that’s one of the reasons we took the chance on him that we did. I think we had a really good feel for the kind of person that he is based on our experiences with the people at Notre Dame and what they said about him and then just our experiences throughout the evaluation process.
“Trust me, he hasn’t had bad days. He comes to work every day with a great spirit. It’s a challenging injury he was coming back from and he’s handled it very well. Still have a long way to go. We’re going to take it day by day, but he’s made a lot of progress.”
Smith, a second-round pick in 2016, used his rookie season as a redshirt after a devastating left knee injury in Notre Dame’s bowl game. He returned to practice this offseason and told the team website last week that he finally feels like himself again.
The damaged peroneal nerve in Smith’s left knee, though, has yet to fully regenerate, forcing him to wear a brace for drop foot. He will have another regenerate test soon. Despite that, the Cowboys remain confident the linebacker will help them this season.
“We knew Jaylon’s situation, the first year was going to amount to a redshirt year,” Garrett said. “We had no expectation he’d be able to play, but he’s on schedule. We’re excited to see him come back.”