A dream hatched only in the mind of owner Jerry Jones has finally been shattered by the long-known reality of linebacker Jaylon Smith’s injured knee.
Per coach Jason Garrett, the Cowboys are putting Smith on the reserve non-football injury list, effectively ending his season.
This has been the expectation since the Cowboys selected Smith in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, despite suffering a severe knee injury in his final game at Notre Dame.
He still has lingering nerve damage that not only clouded his ability to play this season, but possibly ever again.
The optimistic Jones, however, has consistently sold the idea that Smith could play this year. He was placed on the non football injury list even though the Cowboys doctors had expectations of him playing.
But Jones used it as a beacon of hope.
He said as much last Friday on his radio show on 105.3 The Fan.
“We don’t have him on permanent [injured reserve] because we really haven’t given up that he could have enough nerve regeneration that he could compete,” Jones said. “I don’t know where that is, only God knows. But on the other hand, I do know how he’s rehabbed. I do know what he’s about. He’s even more than we had expected.
“He unequivocally is going to be an outstanding defensive player for us, maybe a cornerstone player for us. So we’re way ahead of the game as far as acquiring talent for the future, with him alone.”
The future is the only target for Smith as any chances of him playing this season are over.