Owner Jerry Jones said earlier this week the Cowboys maintain hope that Jaylon Smith can return sometime during the 2016 season. Smith, a second-round choice recovering from a serious knee injury, had little reaction when told Jones doesn’t expect to place the linebacker on season-ending injured reserve.
“It means nothing to me,” Smith said. “It’s the matter of an owner having faith in a guy he drafted.”
Smith ranked among the top-10 prospects before he tore the anterior cruicate ligament and lateral collateral ligament in his left knee in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1. Smith also suffered nerve damage in the knee.
Smith said it marked the first serious injury of his career, but he has faith he will return to 100 percent.
“I’m going great,” Smith said. “It’s just a matter of time. …It’s just staying strong and working my butt off.”
Smith has spent the rookie minicamp on the field with his teammates, in his No. 54 jersey, taking mental reps.
“Watching, supporting and learning,” he said.
Smith’s only goal for 2016 isn’t an individual goal.
“Well, I want to win a Super Bowl, so I want to be headed toward that,” Smith said.
In 39 starts at outside linebacker, Smith made 293 tackles, 24.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks while breaking up 11 passes and forcing three fumbles.