Jayron Kearse says “sky’s the limit” as new leader of Cowboys’ safety corps

Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Last year at this time, Dallas Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse was just trying to earn a starting spot on the roster after signing a one-year prove-it deal with the team. After four years in Minnesota and one in Detroit where he never eclipsed more than seven starts in a single season, he had to also compete with Damontae Kazee and Malik Hooker for a safety spot on the Cowboys.

Now, a year later, he heads into OTAs as the leader of the safety corps. Kearse is a perfect example of what every player aims to do when they sign a prove-it deal. He started in fifteen games for Dallas in 2021 collecting 100 tackles, his first sack, his first multi-interception season, and his first fumble recovery. He also took over playcalling duties midway through the season while being on the turf for the third-most amount of snaps of any defender on the roster.

The 28-year-old excelled with Dan Quinn’s guidance, and like teammate Micah Parsons, was able to use his versatility to help the Cowboys. Kearse contributed on special teams, as a safety, and even was sent as a linebacker to take out tight ends. His impressive and unique production led him to sign a two-year extension with the Cowboys this offseason.

With a contract in hand and big goals ahead, Kearse is ready to lead the safety depth chart. Amidst names like Malik Hooker, Donovan Wilson, Israel Mukuamu, and Tyler Coyle, Kearse is the oldest at just 28 years old. But he doesn’t seem to mind being the guy people look up to. At least that’s not how he made it seem when he spoke to the press during OTAs.

Jayron Kearse went from a one-year prove-it deal to the Cowboys’ leader in the safety room

"“It’s very different than last year. This time last year I was coming in to compete and just trying to get my feet wet, and earn my way here. Now this time, it’s established that I’m a leader and guys look at me to lead. The play has to be there along with me encouraging guys. It’s definitely different, and I put myself in that position.”"

Kearse said he is excited to be back on the turf and competing with his teammates. The safety believes that the goal for the entire team is to become a tight-knit group and grow and excel together. He thinks that’s how teams get through long, grueling football seasons, and gets the sense that all three phases of the roster are working to become a group of one.

However, despite being a leader, his mindset to be the best out there hasn’t changed. Kearse has more that he wants to accomplish and is ready to do that in year seven.

Kearse also seems very confident in the young guys underneath him. The safety was very complimentary of the other safeties on the roster and told reporters that everyone in the group is taking the initiative to prepare for 2022. That includes him and his new locker room role – one he takes serious pride in:

"“I love being the guy that everyone looks to. Like, ‘ok he’s doing this, so we have to do that’ you know? Being the example. And I know I can do it. So if you’re following me, the sky is the limit.”"

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