OXNARD, Calif. – In keeping with his philosophy of keeping his key players rested, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Friday that Tyron Smith will take a veteran's day.
Smith will join fellow veterans Sean Lee and Barry Church on the sideline, while Thursday's veteran absentees – Tony Romo, Jason Witten and Dez Bryant will return to practice.
There's some irony there in Smith's case, though. The All-Pro left tackle isn't coming off an injury, like Bryant, and he isn't 30 or older – like Lee, Witten and Romo. In fact, Garrett said Smith is perhaps the youngest player he's ever given a rest day.
"He's one of those guys that we have on our team that you got to, in some ways, protect him from himself because of how hard he works," Garrett said. "He's there early, he stays late. He's always on the practice field working on his sets."
Since Smith made the move to left tackle in 2012, he has developed into one of the most consistent and dominant forces in football. He has only missed one game in his career, dating all the way back to his rookie year in 2011. He's also been named to the Pro Bowl three-straight years, going back to 2013 – not to mention first and second-team All-Pro honors in the past two years.
Given that level of consistency on the field, Garrett said he had to arrange for some time off it.
"He was not happy about it," he said. "He was chomping at the bit just to get the walkthrough reps a little bit ago. That's one of the things that makes him such a great player, the approach he takes. He's a great example for his teammates."