Cowboys Morris Claiborne reveals the motivation behind his comeback

Sep 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne (24) prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne reveals to a teammate the motivation behind his resurgence this season.

It’s no secret that Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne is having the best season in his five-year career in Dallas. But it almost didn’t happen.

The Cowboys traded up in the 2012 NFL Draft, moving from 14th overall to sixth in order to select the LSU ballhawking cornerback. And Dallas cost them a second rounder (45th overall), and a shot at drafting Seattle Seahawks middle linebacker and two-time Pro Bowler Bobby Wagner, in order to do so.

With the rookie Claiborne and new free agent acquisition from the Kansas City Chiefs, cornerback Brandon Carr, now in their secondary, the Cowboys were expecting a new era of defensive domination in Dallas. What they got was disappointment.

While both players struggled with consistency, Claiborne also grappled with availability. During his first four seasons in Dallas, the now 26-year defender missed a total of 24 games due to various injuries. In fact, Claiborne has never once played a full-16 game season as a professional.

But being injury-prone wasn’t Claiborne’s only issue. His play on the field was suspect as well. Twice, the former first round selection was replaced by veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick due to poor play. And the LSU playmaker who recorded a total 11 interceptions in his final two seasons in college could only muster three total takeaways in four seasons in Dallas.

Needless to say, when Claiborne’s fifth-year option in his rookie contract came up, the Cowboys flat refused it. And Mo become a free agent this offseason and would likely forever be labeled as one of the biggest draft busts in franchise history.

But then, something unexpected happened. Claiborne, whom many believed would try to find a fresh start on another team, in fact wanted to stay to Dallas. So in March, he signed a modest one-year, $3 million deal to remain with the Cowboys. And almost immediately, there was a change.

Claiborne started to play more aggressive. He started to show flashes of the player he was before the draft back in 2012. Before all the injuries. What was potential in OTAs turned into possibility during training camp. And that possibility has now turned into production through the first four weeks of the regular season.

Recently, Claiborne sat down and explained the motivation behind his improved play this year.

"“Just to be honest, all the things I’ve been through. I know one thing. It’s not promised to you,” Claiborne told teammate safety Barry Church during an one-on-one interview on “Any given day, any snap, it can be taken away from you. I just try to treat every practice, every rep just like it’s my last. Give it my all because I never know when it’s going to be my last snap.”"

Through the first four games of the regular season, Claiborne has been the Cowboys best defensive player. He’s recorded 16 tackles, two pass defends and one interception so far. In last week’s victory over the San Francisco 49ers on the road, the fifth-year corner likely had his best game as a professional. Not only did he record his first takeaway in over two years, but Mo also had a critical tackle on a fourth down that sealed the victory for the Cowboys.

Next: Dallas Cowboys offense dominating with 2014 reboot

It’s been a long, disappointing road for Morris Claiborne. And with the threat of having the game he loves taken away from him, the 26-year old former first round pick found his motivation. If Claiborne can maintain his current level of play and remain healthy, he could very well land a contract extension in Dallas this offseason.