OXNARD, Calif. – Tyron Smith has never been one of the more vocal players in the locker room. In fact, he might just be one of the quietest. Media attention isn't his favorite thing but he knew Wednesday wouldn't be a day he could avoid it.
In fact, Smith had a pair of long interview sessions with the media who wanted to get plenty of clips about the newest highest-paid lineman in the NFL.
"I'm excited that it's done. I don't have to deal with that stress anymore," said Smith, who inked an eight-year extension worth $97.6 million on Wednesday morning. "The Jones family showed their faith in me. I'm not going to let them down at all."
The deal keeps Smith under contract with the Cowboys through the 2023 season, although he will still be just 32 years of age.
"It's very important when you think about his age. He's very likely to be playing after that contract," Jerry Jones said. "He's really a profile of the way you'd like for it to be in the NFL if you're one of the most successful ones, and I would say, at this juncture, he is. He's arguably, we think, one of the handful of best offensive linemen and arguably one of the top two or three left tackles."
But for now, Smith is hopeful that this contract will keep wearing the Blue Star on his helmet for his entire career.
Photos from Wednesday's afternoon practice in Oxnard.
"It's a great organization. This organization is like family. I want to be here for the rest of my career," Smith said. "For what they put into me, I know I have to perform at even a higher level."
Smith said some of his teammates joked with him about the deal. Quarterback Tony Romo said he doesn't think Smith is overpaid at all "because he's that good." He did quip that Smith's payday means "he'll be taking care of us now."
But for the most part, they knew not to make a big deal out of … the big deal.
"It's not the time for that right now," Smith said. "It's time to focus. I can't let this change my approach. I still need to get better and I'm going to make sure I work as hard as I've worked."
- Morris Claiborne was crossing his fingers for good news after he suffered an injury at the end of practice. Claiborne said after practice that he twisted his right knee while going up for a ball in 7-on-7 drills. As he left the practice field, he said he wasn't sure if he'd need an X-ray or not. Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said the news was concerning, but he added that head trainer Jim Maurer looked at Claiborne and didn't have the same level of concern as he did Tuesday when examining DeMarcus Lawrence. "Jim Maurer felt pretty good about it – our head trainer looked at it," Jones said. "Certainly it was enough to get examined, and he's been one of our highlights. He and Wilber, those guys have had a top camp so far."
- Jerry Jones chose not to speculate on contract negotiations with Dez Bryant, only stating "we're certainly in communication." However, Stephen Jones said earlier in the day the Cowboys still have the cap room and flexibility to sign Bryant, which now becomes the team's top priority to sign with Smith now locked up.
- Morris Claiborne –Before he went down with the injury, Claiborne was having one of his better practices. He fought Bryant twice in the 1-on-1 drill and earned a split. He was matched up with Terrance Williams in the final rep with the entire team watching and broke up the pass on a slant. He then picked off a deep ball for Williams in team drills and returned it up the field.
- Zack Martin –The rookie continues to shine in the 1-on-1 pass-rush drills, especially when he faces Henry Melton. Their first matchup of the drill featured Martin handling Melton's spin move and then he finished it off with a shove that sent the defensive tackle to the ground. In the final rep with the team all watching, Martin held his own and pushed Melton up the field. Eventually Melton got by the rookie but in a game, the ball would've been long gone from the pocket.
- Joseph Randle –The second-year back not only looks bigger and stronger this year, but he's playing that way as well. Randle caught a lot of passes out of the backfield Wednesday and after one catch, he turned up the field and lowered his shoulder on cornerback Tyler Patmon, sending the rookie from Oklahoma State on his back and Randle kept running up the field.
Play of the Day:
What do you know? Dez Bryant checks in with another top play. Before Claiborne went down with a knee injury that forced him out of practice, he had solid coverage on Bryant during a drill in the 1-on-1 portion. Claiborne had Bryant blanketed down the left sideline and was pushing him away from the ball until Bryant just went over the physical cornerback. The ball was going straight for Claiborne's helmet before Bryant reached down from his mid-air spot to pluck the ball out. Claiborne barely knew where the ball was by the time Bryant was streaking down the field.
*Injury Report: Injury Report: Left Practice: *CB Morris Claiborne (knee) *Missed Practice: *DE DeMarcus Lawrence (ankle)
DE Anthony Spencer (knee)
OG Ronald Leary (hamstring)
DT Amobi Okoye (illness)
CB Brandon Carr (personal matter)
DE Ben Gardner (shoulder)
DT Terrell McClain (ankle)
LB Will Smith (groin)
Thursday, July 31
10:30 a.m. (PDT) Walk-Thru
12:00 p.m. (PDT) Coach Garrett Press Conference
3:45 p.m. (PDT) Practice
Friday, August 1
No Availability Player's Day Off