It was not that long ago that a rookie offensive lineman named Tyron Smith squared off against an All-Pro caliber pass rusher named DeMarcus Ware. The matchup was a harsh early introduction to the National Football League for the then twenty year old. The veteran Ware routinely ate the younger man's lunch during the early days.
"DeMarcus Ware beat my butt every day but it got me better." - Tyron Smith
That was to be expected. No matter how talented the rookie is, he is still going to have a lot to learn, especially in how to handle an opponent with multiple Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors to his name. The opportunity to get schooled by such a player is an opportunity to learn from the best in the business and to become better due to the crash course that the master provides.
Flash forward to the final week in May 2015 and we find that the tables have now been turned. It is now Tyron Smith who is the veteran with honors on his resume who is now working with a highly touted rookie. Defensive end Randy Gregory was a college talent on par with Smith, now they are teammates. In a reversal of roles for Smith, he is now the master who is expected to do for Gregory what Ware once did for him. The student has become the mentor and he relishes the role.
"I just know how important it is to get help from older guys so any kind of questions or extra work he needs I'm always there for any kind of question he has or anything I can help him out with. The kid coming in the way he is now, he seems like he's pretty good already. He seems like he's going to be a guy who fits into our program."
Smith enters his fifth NFL season as the acknowledged master with a star pupil to groom for the other side of the ball. It is a far cry from his rookie season when he was the student of DeMarcus Ware. Football has come full circle for the Cowboys left tackle, and that is the way things are supposed to work out. With a little hard work, perhaps soon Randy Gregory will have an opportunity to join Tyron on his post-season trips west and even some day he will have a pupil of his own.