OXNARD, Calif. -- Morris Claiborne knew his knee felt better in team walkthroughs Thursday and Friday morning. What he didn't know, however, was that his former teammate, Tyrann Mathieu, had been kicked off the football team at LSU.
Mathieu was dismissed from the Tigers while the Cowboys were going out for their Friday morning practice.
"I've just heard about people like, 'What happened to your boy?'" Claiborne said as he walked off the field. "But I haven't really watched it and know what's going on."
He described his reaction as surprised when finding out the results.
"Obviously, he did something he wasn't supposed to do," said Claiborne. "But me knowing Tyrann, he's a great guy, great kid. Sometimes things just happen."
Claiborne said his first reaction was disbelief when he heard about Mathieu's junior season at LSU being in jeopardy. Claiborne played the last two years of his career at LSU alongside fellow cornerback Mathieu.
Both players also contributed on special teams. Claiborne returned a kick for a touchdown last season, while Mathieu took back two punt returns. In just two years, Mathieu set the LSU record with 11 forced fumbles.
Claiborne and Mathieu were a part of a defense that ranked second in the NCAA and guided LSU to the National Championship game. The defensive back duo combined for eight interceptions last year.
Claiborne said LSU is losing a special player, but the Tigers have the depth to survive the loss. He said he hopes Mathieu can bounce back.
"We were very close to each other," Claiborne said. "We always talk and all that. But I mean, God lets things happen for a reason. What that reason may be, I don't know."
Claiborne's mood was down when hearing about Mathieu, but brighter when talking about his progress recovering from a sprained left MCL.
"I felt pretty good coming out of the breaks and stuff," Claiborne said. "It's better."
Head coach Jason Garrett said he wouldn't anticipate seeing Claiborne in pads Friday afternoon, but he should work back into practice in the next few days.