In the past, injures kept Morris Claiborne out of the preseason. This time, the Cowboys made him a healthy scratch.
The cornerback dressed for the first time since rupturing the patellar tendon in his left knee last September against the Saints. But he missed his 12th career preseason game, having played in only two in his four-year career.
“I definitely wanted to play,” Claiborne said. “I felt great. You never know how much you miss it until it’s gone away from you and you finally get a chance to put that uniform on.
“When I walked on the field, I felt like it was my first year in the NFL, just being back on a National Football League field and being around the team, and it hyped me up a lot.”
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Claiborne, who has missed 18 regular-season games the past two seasons, said he found out before the team left Oxnard that he wouldn’t play against the Chargers. He didn’t try to convince the coaches otherwise, but he plans on playing in the team’s next preseason game against San Francisco.
“I don’t know what the plan is for next game, but I will be in their ear a lot,” Claiborne said.
He said sitting out while healthy was “definitely harder” than sitting out while rehabbing.
“But I had to keep reminding myself it is a marathon for me. It’s not a sprint,” he said. “Not to say anything would happen, but just taking it one day at a time and trying to get better each and every day. When my time comes, it will come.”
Claiborne has been taking first-team snaps and has had the best training camp of his career. In the last year of his contract, he’s physically ready to have his best season.
“I feel great. I feel better than I felt in a long time – coming out of cuts, coming out of breaks, guarding guys,” he said. “I feel great. I feel like I match breaks with receivers and comes out at the same time, which is something I couldn’t do a couple of years ago.”
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760