FRISCO, Texas – Jaylon Smith's comeback is the story of the preseason – and Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones is among those marveling at the first-year linebacker's return from a devastating 2016 knee injury.
In fact, Jones hasn't seen a Cowboys player approach rehab like Smith did since Michael Irvin after the Hall of Famer tore his ACL in the middle of the 1989 season.
Irvin returned five games into the 1990 season and became one-third of the Triplets dynasty that won three Super Bowls in the decade. Monday, his Cowboys Ring of Honor monument was unveiled at the new Ring of Honor Walk presented by Dr. Pepper at The Star in Frisco.
"I've never seen anybody or no one else has seen anybody attack rehab the way he did," Jones said Tuesday on 105.3 The Fan. "I think Jaylon Smith is on par with that."
Smith, the Cowboys' second-round pick last year, made his in-game debut last Saturday against the Colts and registered a tackle in 12 defensive snaps.
It was the most significant step in Smith's recovery from torn knee ligaments and nerve damage that still requires the use of a foot brace to assist with movement. The Cowboys have been pleased with his day-to-day diligence working with the athletic training staff.
"He has certainly met our expectation, if we could have any, on how his nerve has basically progressed in terms of that issue," Jones said. And what is obvious is that as a football player, he's really ready to make a big contribution."