OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys have been waiting for Morris Claiborne to live up to the lofty expectations that come with being the No. 6 overall pick.
Like it or not, Claiborne has a different goal right now, just two days into training camp.
"I'm trying to make the team. That's how I look at this whole thing," said Claiborne, who missed all of the offseason dealing with torn patella injury, the latest of injury setbacks that have plagued him the past three seasons.
So what exactly does Claiborne want to show to the Cowboys?
"That I can play football, period, point blank," he said, also admitting this mentality is somewhat new. "It's probably even more this year. I didn't really feel that way my first year here, I felt like I was done doing everything (to get better). But a couple of injuries have knocked me back a little bit. That's my mindset now."
Maybe that's not the answer Cowboys fans want to hear from a guy that was considered the best defensive player in 2012. But that's the reality now for a player entering his fourth pro season and has yet to come close to those expectations.
However, Claiborne is relieved to say he is back to 100 percent physically. But admitted his challenges in the past have been mental as well.
"It's a little bit of both. Being in the positon that I've been in, you get caught up in a lot," Claiborne said. "It's a lot, the mind, your body, you can't move like you want to move, you're not around your team, it's a lot that goes into it. I've overcome a lot. I'm here today, when everybody counted me out not to be where I'm at right now, and I'm here."
And not only here, but healthy.[embeddedad0]
"I feel good. I feel like I can jump like I used to jump," Claiborne said. "I can run and cut with receivers like I used to. I'm just getting back to myself. I feel good."
And it sounds like he's ready to compete, even with the addition of first-round pick Byron Jones.
"I've been motivated. That didn't take them to bring anybody in to motivate me," Claiborne said. "I believe in completion as well. If it's my name in competition, I believe in myself."