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Mailbag: What Is Jaylon Smith's Cowboy Legacy?


In light of the decision to release Jaylon Smith, it's hard to know how to feel about such a unique career. From the remarkable comeback story to now, what do you think Jaylon's legacy is? – BRIAN T. / SAN JOSE, CA

David: I can't think of a player who better encapsulates the ever-changing nature of the NFL than Jaylon Smith. In 2016, most people thought the guy would never play football again. By 2019, he was one of the most promising linebackers in the league and worth almost $70 million. Almost two years exactly after that extension was signed, he's gone – more than two years before the deal was set to expire. The timing is a surprise, but the reality of the situation is not. No one can ever deny the odds that Jaylon Smith defied to reach a Pro Bowl level of play. His comeback story is borderline miraculous. But like they always say, NFL stands for Not For Long, and that story became an afterthought right around the time he lost a step. It's unfortunate, but it's a testament to just how hard it is to stay atop this league.

Nick: That's a good question because his entire career was like a wild rollercoaster ride with so many loops, twists, turns, stops and starts. But ultimately, I view his career has a success story. Just remember that he was on the grass in the Fiesta Bowl with the whole world wondering if he would ever play again after that knee injury. Everyone, except him. Jaylon never doubted he would come back. And while his always-positive attitude rubbed a lot of people the wrong way because it felt like he was either delusional, naive or just unaware of his surroundings, it's always hard to know what his perspective is. He was the one told he'd never play again and he ended up drafted, recovered, made the Pro Bowl and had a second contract. No, he wasn't the best player the Cowboys ever had by far. And right now, he's not good enough to use with the better options around him. But he's definitely a success story - whether people like him or not.

It seems every few days or so information is released about possible players returning from injured reserve and COVID protocols, etc. But there is no consistent information about Neville Gallimore. What is the latest on him and why isn't he mentioned more often? – CRISS SCHROEDER / SANTA FE, TX

David: I think that's a simple issue of a difference in timetable. Some of the guys on IR are dealing with week-to-week injuries, so it makes more sense to ask for frequent updates. We've known from the beginning that Gallimore was dealing with a multiple-month injury, and he is just now starting to approach his timeline to possibly return. He's been rehabbing during practice, so he is making progress. I'm curious to see if they try to bring him back before the bye week, though. It's something to watch.

Nick: Typically that means he's not that close to coming back. I would say Gallimore is working his way back to the field but with a fractured elbow, the strength has to be 100 percent. This isn't an injury that you can rush back and just deal with it. If he can't extend his arms, he won't be effective. My guess is that he misses the next two games and then will be back for the Oct. 31 game in Minnesota.

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