WINDSOR, Ontario– Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith has been invited to several offseason youth camps held by his own teammates and other NFL players over the years.
He hasn’t always been able to participate. Not because he doesn’t love to give back, but simply because of his own health, either dealing with his nagging back issues or other injury setbacks.
But none of that was the case for Smith this weekend in Windsor, Ontario, the site of Tyrone Crawford’s annual football camp.
In fact, Smith wasn’t just able to run around in below-freezing temperatures and teach some of Canada’s future football players, but said he can’t remember when he’s felt better physically.
“I’m feeling great now,” Smith said. “Actually, I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve been in a while. I’ve taken this offseason to get back into it a little early and try to take care of my body a little more. I’m just doing the little small (rehab) things and I just feel awesome right now.”
That’s quite a difference for Smith, who called 2017 a “frustrating” season after playing just 13 games for the second straight year. However, Smith really missed the better part of two other games down the stretch, having to exit early against the Raiders and Seahawks. Smith’s absence in two games in November was also pivotal as the Cowboys allowed 12 sacks against the Falcons (eight) and Eagles (four) combined with their starting left tackle out.
Overall, in the five games in which Smith missed time, the Cowboys allowed 19 of their 32 sacks allowed for the season.
But Smith is hoping a new offseason regiment will prevent him from missing time this season.
“I went to California and went to a facility out there and starting training and rehabbing a little early,” he said. “We just worked on the little things like stretching and taking pressure off my back and opening up my hips a little bit. It’s just little things but I’m feeling great.”
Smith said he kept in communication with the Cowboys’ athletic training staff, updating them “on the process and how I was feeling.”
Smith has had different injuries on the injury report throughout the years, but said the back has undoubtedly been his biggest issue, especially in the last two years.
“My back is really restricted me a lot,” said Smith, who was still named to the Pro Bowl in 2017, for the fifth straight year. “But it’s feeling really good right now. We did some MRIs and it never was to the point where I needed surgery. I wanted to stay away from surgery. So I’m happy where we are right now.”
Smith said he’s also happy with what he’s seeing on the offensive line right now, including three free-agent signings of Cameron Fleming, Marcus Martin and Joe Looney, who re-signed with the club.
“For me, I just appreciate anything they bring to the line that will help us out,” Smith said. “The new guys we have will be a great addition to the line. We’ll continue to work. But I’m excited about them.”