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Offseason | 2024

Mazi Smith, Luke Schoonmaker rehabbing from offseason shoulder surgery


ORLANDO, Fla. — At the Annual League Meeting in Orlando, Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters that 2023 rookies defensive tackle Mazi Smith and tight end Luke Schoonmaker have each had offseason shoulder surgery that is expected to keep them out of OTAs and minicamp in the coming months.

The first and second-round picks join third-round pick DeMarvion Overshown – who tore his ACL in the 2023 preseason – as second-year players that will be coming off of injury when they arrive at training camp in July.

"Mazi had shoulder surgery," McCarthy said. "He's going through a rehab phase right now. He's definitely one of the guys that needs to take that big second-year jump, and I think he'll do that."

Smith rotated in and out with veteran defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins during his rookie season, but with Hankins now out the door after signing with the Seattle Seahawks in free agency, a big opportunity is present for Smith to take the next step.

However, a rookie season marred by inconsistency and a weight loss that brought him right around 300 pounds is a cause for concern. For the coaching staff, there is a clear step to take in his second season, but confidence is still present.

"I'm looking for Mazi to take that step, no bones about it," McCarthy said. "Now, if you just look at the dynamics of the room – and obviously, we'll continue to add to that room – he's going to have a lot more opportunity in front of him."

In his rookie year, Smith accounted for 13 tackles including three for loss and one sack in 17 games. He was awarded three starts in place of Hankins who missed a stretch of action in December with an ankle injury.

"[Smith] lost some weight," he said. "Last year was a big adjustment for him so I think there's a lot that goes into the transition that these guys make. He's not immune to that. I think now he'll have a better plan and we need to help him with that plan to be at the proper weight and maintain it."

Schoonmaker arrived in Dallas with a plantar fascia issue in his foot last offseason that kept him out of rookie minicamp, OTAs and a portion of time at training camp, and now he will rehab a shoulder issue in year two. His surgery was performed last week and he remains on track to not miss any on-field time.

In his rookie season, the second-round pick out of Michigan hauled in eight receptions for 65 yards and two touchdowns.

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