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Jaylon Smith: Battling The Uncontrollable

The Dallas Cowboys provided a jaw-dropping moment in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, when they decided to write linebacker Jaylon Smith’s name down on their draft card. Why in the world would they draft a linebacker so highly when there’s a chance he may have to sit out the entire 2016 season? Well, Smith’s selection is based more on his future potential and that he can fully recover from a devastating knee injury that also caused nerve damage. If he can fully recover and become the player he was at Notre Dame, then the Cowboys would’ve drafted a player that is arguably the best defensive player in the entire 2016 NFL Draft. Can you say draft day steal?

Brian Martin

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Cowboys Headlines - Jaylon Smith: Battling The Uncontrollable

The Dallas Cowboys provided a jaw-dropping moment in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, when they decided to write linebacker Jaylon Smith's name down on their draft card.

Why in the world would they draft a linebacker so highly when there's a chance he may have to sit out the entire 2016 season?

Cowboys Headlines - Jaylon Smith: Battling The Uncontrollable 2Well, Smith's selection is based more on his future potential and that he can fully recover from a devastating knee injury that also caused nerve damage.

If he can fully recover and become the player he was at Notre Dame, then the Cowboys would've drafted a player that is arguably the best defensive player in the entire 2016 NFL Draft.

Can you say draft day steal?

I for one am rooting for Jaylon Smith and I'm personally praying for a full 100% recovery. This goes beyond what he can potentially do on the field for the Dallas Cowboys. To me, it's more about seeing Smith win a battle that is completely out of his control.

I know a little something about facing a battle that is uncontrollable and completely out of your hands. I actually kind of feel a connection to what Jaylon is going through, having faced a similar situation myself.

You see, I was in an accident a little over 12 years ago in which I broke my C2 and C3 vertebrae and ended up being paralyzed from the chest down. So, I know what it's like to go through rehab trying to get the nerves to regenerate themselves and fire up once again.

Cowboys Headlines - Jaylon Smith: Battling The Uncontrollable 3

(Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire)

There is absolutely nothing you can do to physically repair the damage and it takes a huge toll on you mentally, especially for someone like Jaylon Smith who has probably never faced a physical obstacle he couldn't overcome in his entire life.

It looks as if Smith will be able to make a full recovery from his anterior and lateral collateral knee injury, but it's his peroneal nerve that is the major concern. It prevents him from moving his foot from side to side or lifting it up and down. It is commonly referred to as drop foot.

There really is no timetable for when the peroneal nerve may recover, but based on my research I think I can give you a somewhat educated idea.

Nerves regrow at about 1 inch per month after a one month lag time and Jaylon Smith's injury area is approximately 6 inches above the muscle that was paralyzed when the peroneal nerve was damaged. Smith is approximately six months out of surgery and still has at the very least a few months of recovery time ahead of him.

Even though Smith still has a long road of recovery ahead of him, he has been soaking up as much information during the Dallas Cowboys OTA and mini-camp practices. He has also been putting in time in the weight room, but it's probably his attendance in the meeting rooms that have benefited him the most so far.

Cowboys Headlines - Jaylon Smith: Battling The Uncontrollable 1Jaylon Smith can only do so much because he is still limited to what he can do physically in the weight room and on the practice field, but the mental aspect of the game is something that he is taking very seriously.

In fact, with fellow linebacker Sean Lee also observing these OTA and mini-camp practices, Smith has been in his hip pocket and picking his brain every chance he gets. He has become Lee's second shadow and I can't think of a better mentor for him to learn how to prepare like a professional.

"You have a great group of guys in front of you, "Smith said. "I'm definitely learning a lot from Sean Lee, picking his brain each and every day. But for me, it's just learning the system, getting acclimated to my surroundings. When I'm back out there, it's going to be elite."

Sean Lee is almost like having another coach on the field, but a coach that is still currently playing the game and knows exactly how to prepare when recovering from an injury.

There may not be a better sounding board for Jaylon Smith to have at his disposal other than Sean Lee, and I can't tell you how much of a benefit that may be to Smith's recovery.

As fans, we are all hoping that he can get back on the field sooner rather than later, but it's a process that takes time and can't be rushed.

From what I've learned about Jaylon Smith, I'm absolutely positive that he has the right mental makeup and determination to do everything in his power to get back on the field, but it's an uncontrollable battle that he's facing.

How much are you hoping Jaylon Smith is able to make a full recovery?

Please feel free to use the comment section below to voice your thoughts and opinions. I look forward to discussing this topic with you further.


Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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9 Comments
  • Freddie

    Jaylon, I hope & pray that the Good LORD heals you 100% according to HIS time. Just don't rush it and be patient. We want you back in BEAST MIDE and ready to TERRORIZE. I'm excited to see you on your opening day to play. BLESS YOU!! GO BOYS!!

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting Freddie, I feel exactly the same way.

  • Freddie

    Jaylon, I hope & pray that the Good LORD heals you 100% according to HIS time. Just don't rush it and be patient. We want you back in BEAST MIDE and ready to TERRORIZE. I'm excited to see you on your opening day to play. BLESS YOU!! GO BOYS!!

  • Dax

    Best sideline to sideline linebacker I've seen

    • Brian Martin

      Dax, he is definitely one of the best physically gifted linebackers I have seen in a long time. I can't wait to see him on the field what's he's 100% healthy. Thanks for commenting.

  • Scott

    I am praying for Jaylon too! I crashed out my motocross bike and put the foot peg through my shoulder blade…ouch! It fractured my neck and jerked out 7 of my 8 nerves out at my spine that made my right arm, and hand work…nada, paralyzed forever!!! But, I grew a ton in my heart and soul and discovered I still had a left hand…lol. Got to never ever give up Jaylon! I was 19 then and I am 62 now. Love the boys ever since I was a Bob Lilly fan…lol! Still loving the boys and know Jaylon will be everything he dreams to be…Cannot wait to see that big smile on the field with Sean Lee…real scary for NFL teams!

    • Brian Martin

      Thanks for commenting Scott. I think we're all hoping that Jaylon Smith can make a full recovery. Those of us that have experienced nerve damage know the battle he's going through both mentally and physically. It's not an easy journey to undertake, but it looks as if he has a good support system in place to help him push through the hard times.

  • Joe

    I'm praying this kid can make it all the way back. I'm kind of ruling out 2016 but if he is 100% by 2017 then it will be worth waiting for.

  • Brian Martin

    Yeah, 2016 will probably be like a redshirt season.

Player News

Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Cowboys Planning

February 20 is an important day for NFL clubs this year. Why? It's the first day in which teams can franchise tag any player. Since 2015, when the Dallas Cowboys tagged Dez Bryant before they were able to work out a long-term deal, Jerry Jones & Co. haven't used the franchise tag. In 2018, though, that will change.

DeMarcus Lawrence just played his best season yet in 2017, and he's looking to get paid big time. Through three years, he had been able to rack up nine sacks, 52 tackles and three forced fumbles. In just 2017, he sacked opposing quarterbacks 14.5 times, had 35 tackles and managed to force four fumbles.

Not only did Lawrence look like an elite pass rusher, but he also improved as a run defender a lot. The Cowboys have been looking for a "War Daddy" for a long, long time and Lawrence seems to be the answer for this football team.

After such a big year, one would expect the Cowboys to sign him to a multi-year enormous contract. But there's a catch. Lawrence failed to remain healthy early in his career and really didn't make as much of an impact until last season.

There's no question that D-Law will be wearing a star come the 2018 NFL season, but will he be doing it under a long-term deal or under a franchise tag?

David Moore on Twitter

Cowboys will not place franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence tomorrow as that window opens but will do so by March 6 w/ understanding the goal is to reach a long-term deal. Both sides have until July 16 to make that happen.

For now, according to David Moore from Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys will franchise tag Lawrence with the objective of getting a deal done in July. The tag however, is not expected to be placed as soon as possible.

Jess Haynie on Twitter

In 2015, the Cowboys didn't place the franchise tag on Dez Bryant until the final deadline day. This year's deadline is March 6th, so it may be two weeks before they make it official with DeMarcus Lawrence. #CowboysNation #DallasCowboys

What would franchise tagging DeMarcus Lawrence mean for this team?

First of all, they'd make sure he doesn't hit free agency in March. This gives the front office time to get to work and restructure players' contracts if they have to in order to open up as much cap space as they can before giving him a deal.

It's worth mentioning as well, cap savings from players who are designated as post-June 1 cuts will already be available. If you want to be more familiarized with the Cowboys' cap situation, I highly recommend you read John Williams' deep dive on the matter.

It'll continue to be a very interesting story for this offseason, as handing a franchise tag to a player tends to become a non-friendly situation for both parties. Let's hope that's not the case for the Cowboys and Lawrence this year and that everything works out fine.

Here at Inside The Star, we'll continue updating you and the rest of Cowboys Nation throughout the offseason.

Tell me what you think about "Cowboys Will Tag DeMarcus Lawrence; What’s the Plan?" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Player News

Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury

Sean Martin

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Should Cowboys Start Negotiating a Contract Extension With Rod Smith?

Dallas Cowboys Linebacker Jaylon Smith did not just defy all odds and return to normalcy in 2017, starting as the Cowboys' middle linebacker for a full 16 games. He became one of the team's and NFL's brightest success stories, earning the right to celebrate everyday activities returning to his life - as football did this season.

https://twitter.com/thejaylonsmith/status/964606764619624453

This is exactly what Jaylon Smith did on Twitter Friday afternoon, posting a Snapchat video of himself bowling. The caption on Twitter adds that Smith was enjoying his time at the lanes for the first time in two years.

It was January 1st, 2016 when Jaylon Smith's injury in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame changed his outlook forever. In that moment, Smith went from a projected top ten pick in the 2016 NFL Draft to a LB that would need a team to take a chance on him - and be patient.

The Dallas Cowboys proved to be that team, using the 34th overall pick on the Notre Dame star and supporting his efforts to return to the field from day one. The entire Cowboys' organization was rewarded by Smith remarkably playing every game this season, inspired by his constant determination to do just that.

Are Dallas Cowboys Building A Championship Defense? 3

Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith

So, a normal offseason for Jaylon Smith is anything but right now. Still battling the drop foot condition (one that is reportedly healing well and "fading") which limits his movement ability in the lower body, Smith is a normal Dallas Cowboys football player from this point forward.

He can say he's already defined all odds, can expect to take an even bigger stride forward in 2018, and Jaylon Smith can go bowling again. You can't help but be happy for #54.

Tell us what you think about "Watch: Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith Goes Bowling for First Time Since College Injury" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!


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Player News

Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Dak Prescott

2017 was a season that left the Dallas Cowboys with a ton of questions to think about. Dez Bryant's contract, Sean Lee and Tyron Smith's availability, and the future of DeMarcus Lawrence and David Irving are some of those questions.

But there's another more pressing question for the Cowboys. How can they get the most out of Quarterback Dak Prescott and avoid another struggling year for him?

Also, what if he has another rough year? At what point does quarterback become a position that needs to be evaluated if he continues to struggle?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that will be the case. In fact, I have a lot of faith in Dak. I think he's shown a lot to be excited about and I definitely believe there's a "quarterback curve" in the NFL. Hopefully, #4 finds a way to get back on track in 2018.

A reason to be optimistic about Prescott's future is an impressive stat from NFL Next Gen Stats. Turns out, Dak Prescott ranked first in the NFL in "tight window throws" completion percentage with 45.8%.

According to Matt Harmon from NFL.com, a "tight window throw" is defined as a pass in which the intended receiver has less than a yard of separation from the defender.

Dak Prescott is far from a perfect quarterback and he's constantly bashed about his throwing accuracy. Just recently, he took part in a passing competition with David Carr before the NFL Honors and well... it's fair to say Carr completely beat him.

Cowboys Twitter was anything but forgiving for the young quarterback, but at the end of the day, I'm not sure a casual passing competition at an event like that one is the way you judge an NFL starting quarterback who has a 22-10 record in his career.

Dak has a long way to go before being considered an excellent quarterback in the league, but a bad season like 2017 doesn't mean it's the end of his career and that the Dallas Cowboys should start Cooper Rush over him.

It's not the first quarterback who struggles one year and he won't be the last one to bounce back from one. As of right now, Dak Prescott rightfully is the Dallas Cowboys QB1. Hopefully he has a better year next season.

Tell me what you think about "Dak Prescott’s Accuracy Stands Out in Final 2017 Stats" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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