IRVING, Texas -- Chris Brown has seen Jaylon Smith play more games than anybody with the Dallas Cowboys. The two were teammates at Notre Dame -- Brown as a receiver, Smith a linebacker -- and are teammates again.
Smith is the much-talked about second-round pick. Brown signed as an undrafted free agent.
Brown’s perspective on Smith, who suffered torn anterior cruciate and lateral collateral ligaments plus nerve damage in his left knee last January, is different than everybody at Valley Ranch. He knows firsthand what Smith meant to the Irish.
“You have a lot of great players that you just respect them because they’re great players, but you’re talking about a dude that never did anything wrong,” Brown said. “Never was late, did everything he needed to do, was vocal when he had to be vocal. He was a leader in his own right, and just to see something like that (one injury) was unfortunate, but we stayed with him throughout and we were supporting him.
“And we knew that whoever would give him a shot, they were going to get it done.”
Brown never saw Smith have a down moment.
“Same dude. That’s the best thing about Jaylon. He’s the same dude through the in and outs," Brown said. "Real relaxed, but driven. I’m his roommate now, so he’s in the playbook as if he’s out there every single day taking every rep.”
Smith will likely not play as a rookie because of the knee injury, but the Cowboys are confident the nerve will re-fire and he will be on the field in 2017. If not for the injury, Smith could have been a top-five pick.
“You’re going to get somebody who’s going to commit 100 percent of their time, 110 percent of their time, to perfecting his craft and making the team better,” Brown said. “He’s a freak now.”