Just when things seem they couldn't get any worse for Mo Claiborne, they do. Mid way through the first quarter Claiborne went down while defending a Saints wide receiver on a pass play. You knew it was bad, and he knew it was bad as he laid on the turf almost motionless.
Tests confirmed that Claiborne had torn his patellar tendon on the play, which means he'll need surgery to repair the tendon and put an end to his 2014 season.
For anyone that's read my pieces or talked with me about Mo Claiborne, you know I've backed the man since the first time his named was announced by the commissioner with the 6th pick of the 2012 draft.
I guess it's because I saw the man's heart and emotions on the day he was drafted, or maybe because I'm from the same town Mo was born and raised and I wanted to see the home town kid make it. Either way, I knew I was going to pull for the newest Cowboy to the bitter end.
He's had his struggles, and I've felt those struggles were mainly because of injury and defensive scheme change. I really felt this year was going to be his break-out season, and the way he started in training camp, he was making me look good.
But then he started to get banged up, and started missing some time in training camp, and then started missing preseason games. He said - and the team said - it was for precautionary reasons. But for whatever reason, he was catching heat from the fans and the media.
Season starts, he gets the starting nod because of the Orlando Scandrick suspension. Mo has a rough first game, but bounces back in his second game against the Titans. The third game was probably his worst game of his career even though he did make a game ending interception.
Mo was blasted like never before, again by the fans and media. But this time the team felt it was time to make a change as well. Scandrick would be named starter and Mo didn't take the news very well, he'd felt the heat and it reached a boiling point and he stormed out of Valley Ranch.
Many fans were glad to see the demotion take place, and the media was more than happy to report the eruption that took place. Later that same evening, after thinking about everything that went down, Mo realized he was in the wrong for reacting the way he did and later apologized to his coaches and teammates.
The news of his apology was reported by the media, but it sure didn't have the same impact of the reports of him lashing out. Some fans were just glad he was demoted and that he would finally find his place on the bench, were they feel he belongs.
Fast forward to Sunday night. Mo ends up on the starting defense because the team opens up in a nickel defense (three defensive backs) and ended up playing 5 of the first 8 plays before getting injured and replaced by Sterling Moore.
The injury was so severe Claiborne could barely put any weight on his knee. My heart went out to the guy, because all he ever wanted was to live up to everyone's expectations and now? He won't have the chance to even try.
Slowly the news came out that Mo was done for the year, and I started reading where fans were happy about Claiborne's season-ending injury. I felt a couple of different emotions when I was reading these absurd posts and tweets. Anger, yes, but I also felt pity for ruthless and salty people.
The man gives his blood, sweat, and tears for YOUR team, and people have the audacity to be happy when they learn he'll be out for the year with a knee injury. I don't know, are some people just that immature, or maybe just ignorant? Nah, some people are just that damned heartless, where they don't care about anything other than getting what they want.
I'm all about putting the best players on the field to help the team win, but I will never celebrate another person's injury in doing so. I don't care who it is, what sport it is, or what team he plays for. It's inhumane to cheer for another person to get hurt or cheer when he/she actually does get hurt.
For the people cheering at the news of Mo Claiborne, or any other athlete for that matter, shame on you for that, and I hope you never have to feel the way Mo Claiborne is feeling today. Even though each and every one of you that have cheered this man's demise deserves it.
In saying that, you got what you wanted, he's on the bench and not playing again this year. So now it's time to get of his back.
Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp
The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.
From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.
Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.
Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.
They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.
Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:
Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract
DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.
According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.
DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million
This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.
Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.
This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.
Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.
There is risk on both sides, of course.
Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.
Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.
Will Cowboys WR Noah Brown Do Enough to Make the Roster?
The Dallas Cowboys aren't short on numbers at wide receiver on their current 90-man roster. Looking to replace Dez Bryant and reshape their offense, the Cowboys will have to find the right group of pass catchers for Dak Prescott at their upcoming training camp.
The odd men out from this group will likely be the ones that can't sustain a consistent level of play, doing so across multiple units if needed. All ten receivers will have their flashes, but with only four being true locks to make the team, new Cowboys Wide Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal will be in on some tough decisions right away.
One such decision may be moving on from last year's seventh round pick Noah Brown out of Ohio State. Vouched for by former Buckeyes teammate Ezekiel Elliott thanks to his blocking ability on the outside, it may now be this strength in the run game and deficiency as a pass catcher that spells the end of Brown's run in Dallas.
Normally, a seventh round pick being on the roster bubble wouldn't be this noteworthy, but Brown clearly showed the potential to outplay this draft status as a rookie. Appearing in 13 games, Brown is a true X receiver, although not the dominant one the Cowboys are searching for.
Moving away from fielding a true number one receiver, the Cowboys did sign Allen Hurns to play this spot while prepared to spread the ball around to Williams, Beasley, and Gallup after that.
This leaves Thompson, Wilson, Cannon, Lenoir, McCay, Murdock, and Brown to prove their worth in other ways to make the roster. I've written plenty about the potential rookie Cedrick Wilson has, so I'll be expecting a strong showing from him to earn a role in the Cowboys offense.
Wilson's skill set could push a depth signing like Deonte Thompson off the team, although his ability to back up Cole Beasley/Tavon Austin on special teams is important. The same can be said about Lance Lenoir, who like Brown has the advantage over first year players given his trials through training camp and the preseason a year ago.
Long shots to make the team, Cannon, McCay, and Murdock fall just below this group -- and somewhere in the middle is Noah Brown.
Increasing his role on special teams as the season went on last year, Brown had fans throughout a coaching staff that is now drastically changed for 2018. From their shift to more speed on offense, to drafting of both Gallup and Wilson, calling Brown a fringe player on the Cowboys roster really sets up the fiery competition to come at wide receiver.
Should the Cowboys find a spot for Brown, one can only hope it means this new coaching staff has a clear plan for him to contribute on both offense and special teams outside of being a run blocker. A potential niche for Brown is his red zone ability, not afraid to put his body on the line for jump balls and fight through contact in his routes.
It won't be long until we sort out if this is enough to make the Cowboys as a wide receiver ahead of Quarterback Dak Prescott's third season.
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