No one outside of Valley Ranch expected Morris Claiborne to return after he became a free agent in the offseason. Maybe even he didn’t expect to come back.
But here he is.
“It feels real good,” Claiborne said Tuesday during Reliant’s fifth annual Home Run Derby benefitting The Salvation Army. “It feels real good to be back here, especially back here in Dallas, especially with some guys that I’m used to, some guys that I love with all of my heart. I’m back playing with those guys, so it’s great.”
The Minnesota Vikings were among the teams that expressed interest in Claiborne. He chose to stay, signing a one-year, $3 million deal that includes a $500,000 signing bonus and a $1.25 million base. He could make another $750,000 in incentives.
“It’s the only place I know,” Claiborne said. “I’m used to the guys and the coaches that are here. We have some tough fans, but I still love them all. I wouldn’t rather play for anybody else.”
The Cowboys made Claiborne the sixth overall choice in 2012, but he has missed 24 of a possible 64 games in his career with injuries. He has three interceptions and 21 passes defensed in four seasons.
He missed the offseason in 2015 while rehabbing from patellar tendon surgery on his left knee and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. Claiborne is a full participant this offseason.
“This off-season I’ve had the opportunity to really train and not rehab,” Claiborne said. “And I’ve had the opportunity to be the rest of the guys and really train and be around those guys. So I think that will be the big difference. I feel like it helped me a lot just having that off-season to really put that work in.”
Claiborne gets another chance at free agency after this season.
“I’m just truly blessed to be in the position I’m in and just try to take advantage of it,” Claiborne said.