Jaylon Smith’s career has been built on the hope of recovering from a gruesome injury. As Dallas Cowboys training camp ramps up, its time to turn promise into reality.
If you’re ever on twitter, go ahead and check Dallas Cowboys‘ second year linebacker, Jaylon Smith’s profile. You’ll notice the same hashtag appears on almost every tweet, #ClearEyeView. To Smith its more than just a catch phrase, its the motto he lives by and has been a huge part of his return to the practice field.
Clear Eye View stands for focused vision, determined belief, and earned dreams. While skeptics may say its just another slogan that looks cool on a t-shirt (which it does), Smith has made it the backbone of his comeback story.
In May, Smith described the motto in greater detail and explained how he lives by it.
"“It’s something I’ve been living by for a few years now,” Smith told Sports Day DFW’s David Moore. “A focused vision is setting out something that you have to be able to see it clear…A determined belief, you have to believe in yourself, you have to have self-belief, belief in God that you can accomplish what He wants you to accomplish…And then earned dreams is how bad do you want it, putting that work in.”"
Getting back to football
Wednesday, Smith put on his shoulder pads for the first time in 572 days. While this isn’t the end of his comeback attempt, it’s a huge step worth celebrating. His knee injury in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl was devastating, not only health wise but to his draft stock.
Before the injury, Smith was the highest rated player on many big boards and was looked at as a generational talent. He was even ranked higher than Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott, who Dallas drafted at number four overall. He would have gone in the top five of the draft and been favored to win Defensive Rookie of the Year.
While it was unfortunate at the time, Smith’s fall in the draft might end up being the best thing that could’ve happened. First, Smith ended up on one of the league’s premiere franchises. Second, his brother, running back Rod Smith, plays on the team.
Third, the doctor who performed his surgery, Dr. Dan Cooper, is the Cowboys head physician. And finally, he could absorb knowledge from All-Pro linebacker and on-field computer, Sean Lee.
After what equals to a red-shirt year, Smith is ready to get back on the field in 2017. He’s beginning to participate in contact drills and get live reps during team sessions. He might not be be at full strength for a few months, but the arrow is certainly pointing up.
Hopefully Jaylon Smith regains his All-American form and becomes a dominant force in Big D. His road to recovery has been long and still has a ways to go. However, the determination Smith has shown so far is inspiring as he shows us all his Clear Eye View.