Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne frequently watches game film from his final season at LSU. It’s to remind himself of his capabilities.
Claiborne enters his fifth NFL season still trying to put it all together.
“I just need to prove to myself that I can go out and make plays,” Claiborne said. “It hasn’t happened for me, but I feel like it’s going to happen when it happens. I’m pushing the issue.”
Claiborne, the sixth overall draft choice in 2012, admits he’s tired of answering the same questions.
It hasn’t happened for me, but I feel like it’s going to happen when it happens. I’m pushing the issue.
Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne, on becoming a playmaker
“When y’all come talk to me, I want y’all to say, ‘That was a nice pick.’ ‘Oh, you made this play.’ ‘How does it feel to be going to the Pro Bowl?’ ‘How does it feel to be going to the Super Bowl?’ ” Claiborne said.
“Those are the questions I want. I’m ready to take on that task, and I know the coaches expect a lot from me. I know I expect a lot from myself. Nothing less. I have some high goals this year, and I’m going to try to do everything it takes to get there.”
Claiborne has missed 24 of a possible 64 games in his career with injuries. He has missed much of his four training camps and most of the team’s preseason games.
As if right on cue, a tight hamstring prevented Claiborne from finishing a strong off-season. He sat out team drills during the three-day minicamp in mid-June.
‘How does it feel to be going to the Super Bowl?’
Morris Claiborne, on questions he hopes media will ask him
“I’ve been in some tough situations with injuries since my time here,” Claiborne said, “and hopefully this is the year I put everything behind me.”
Absent the injuries, Claiborne insists he would have lived up to expectations by now. Instead, he continues to hear questions about his absence of big plays.
He has only three interceptions and 21 passes defensed in four seasons.
“The more he can practice, the better he gets,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. “I think it’s his time. … We’ll see.”
Claiborne found a soft market when he entered free agency in the off-season. The Minnesota Vikings were among the handful of teams that expressed some interest in Claiborne.
Claiborne chose to stay with the Cowboys, 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.
3 Interceptions for Morris Claiborne in four seasons
“Mo’s done a good job throughout his career working through injuries and getting himself ready to play when he hasn’t had enough preparation, but he’s worked hard to come back,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “... I do believe he’s getting better and better. He just needs to play more and more, and I think we’ll see his growth.”
The Cowboys had Brandon Carr and Claiborne swap sides during the off-season program, with Claiborne moving from right corner to left. They hope it revives the careers of Carr and Claiborne, both of whom are scheduled to become free agents in 2017.
“He is at a point in his career right now where he can benefit from playing on that left side and make some plays over there,” Carr said of Claiborne.
He just needs to play more and more, and I think we’ll see his growth.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, on Claiborne
Claiborne, 26, has time to prove the Cowboys right. Or maybe prove to himself that his final two seasons at LSU, when he had 11 interceptions and nine pass breakups, weren’t a fluke.
“I don’t feel like I need to prove anything to anyone. I just need to prove it to myself,” Claiborne said. “I don’t really care what other people think or say.”
Dallas Cowboys schedule
Saturday, Aug. 13 at Los Angeles Rams, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Friday, Aug. 19 vs. Miami, 7 p.m., (KTVT/11)
Thursday, Aug. 25 at Seattle, 9 p.m. (KTVT/11)
Thursday, Sept. 1 vs. Houston, 7 p.m. (KTVT/11)
Sunday, Sept. 11 vs. New York Giants, 3:25 p.m. (KDFW/4)
Sunday, Sept. 18 at Washington, Noon, (KDFW/4)
Sunday, Sept. 25 vs. Chicago, 7:30 p.m. (KXAS/5)
Sunday, Oct. 2 at San Francisco, 3:25 p.m. (KDFW/4)
Sunday, Oct. 9 vs. Cincinnati, 3:25 p.m. (KTVT/11)
Sunday, Oct. 16 at Green Bay, 3:25 p.m. (KDFW/4)
Sunday, Oct. 23 Bye
Sunday, Oct. 30 vs. Philadelphia, 7:30 p.m. (KXAS/5)
Sunday, Nov. 6 at Cleveland, Noon, (KDFW/4)
Sunday, Nov. 13 at Pittsburgh, 3:25 p.m. (KDFW/4)
Sunday, Nov. 20 vs. Baltimore, Noon (KTVT/11)
Thursday, Nov. 24 vs. Washington, 3:30 p.m. (KDFW/4)
Thursday, Dec. 1 at Minnesota, 7:25 p.m. (KXAS/5, NFL Network and Twitter)
Sunday, Dec. 11 at New York Giants, 7:30 p.m. (KXAS/5)
Sunday, Dec. 18 vs. Tampa Bay, Noon, (KDFW/4)
Monday, Dec. 26 vs. Detroit, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, Jan. 1 at Philadelphia, Noon (KDFW/4)