Cowboys Jaylon Smith talks about the joy of hitting someone for first time in 572 days

video by Clarence Hill
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video by Clarence Hill

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith progressing, status unknown for HOF game

By Clarence E. Hill Jr.

July 31, 2017 05:40 PM

OXNARD, Calif.

All eyes have been on linebacker Jaylon Smith and his progress through the first two weeks of training camp after sitting out last season with a devastating knee injury suffered in his final game at Notre Dame.

By all accounts, Smith has made significant strides.

Last week, he practiced in pads for the first time in 572 days, dating back to the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1, 2016.

He had back to back practices in pads Saturday and Sunday without any setbacks.

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So the big question now is whether he will play in the Cowboys preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals in the Pro Football Hall of Fame game Thursday.

Smith said he didn’t know. And Cowboys coach Jason Garrett was noncommittal.

But Garrett acknowledged that the team plans to be slow and methodical with Smith.

They have been deliberate with the work he gets in practice and with his days off after couple days of work.

But the important thing is there have been no setbacks.

Last week he practiced three straight days, including one in pads, before given a day off. This week he practiced two straight days in pads before being given Monday off.

Most of has everything to do with how his body feels.

“I think he’s getting better and better,” Garrett said. “He’s very active, he’s around the ball a lot. He’s moving better, and he’s done a really good job with the work we’ve given him.”