If you're fan of the division rival Giants, Eagles, or Redskins, a headline about Jaylon Smith being 100% healthy is a headline you secretly hoped you'd never have to read.
But thanks to Cowboys safety Byron Jones and an interview he gave on NFL Network, we now have such a headline, much to the delight of Cowboys fans around the globe.
In the NFL Total Access segment that aired on Monday, Jones talked about Jalyon Smith's progress in Dallas.
"He looks good. He's healthy. He's 100 percent," Jones said. "His mind -- he doesn't worry about what happened two years ago. He doesn't care about that. What he's trying to do, I think his motto is 'clear-eyed vision'. And he's doing well at that. He's balling out for us so far. He's learning the playbook and he looks healthy running around."
Smith is now a year and a half removed from a major knee injury that tore both the ACL and MCL tendons in his knee and also caused significant nerve damage, which prompted many observers to wonder if he'd ever be able to regain the form that made him such a formidable college athlete.
The news about the progress Smith is making in his recovery has been slow, but it has also been steady.
In December last year, Smith announced that the damaged nerve had begun regenerating.
"Yeah, it's regenerating," Smith said of his nerve in his left leg. "It's just a thing that you have to have patience. I'm going to continue to do everything I'm asked and controlling what I can control and we're going to take our time with it."
In April, Stephen Jones provided an update on Smith's progress, saying the Cowboys were “more fired up than ever” about drafting Smith.
"He's doing great," Jones said. "He's making great improvements. We're certainly more fired up than ever that we picked him last year."
"When you look at how we improve our defense over last year, him and [fourth-rounder Charles] Tapper both, as we all know, were high picks for us that didn't contribute last year," Jones said. "We certainly have high hopes for both of those guys and feel like they're going to be ready to go here when OTAs and minicamp start."
In May, David Moore of the Dallas Morning News explained why the Cowboys are so optimistic about Smith’s recovery.
Little to no [nerve] regeneration was evident over the first nine months. That was followed by only incremental improvement.
But what has taken place over the last two months has been dramatic. One club official describes it as exponential. The pace of regeneration shows no signs of slowing.
In June finally, during the Cowboys' mandatory minicamp, Gil Brandt observed that Smith looked "tremendous."
Tremendous workout by @thejaylonsmith at Cowboys minicamp today. Doesn't look like he's lost any speed. Big test will be in pads in camp.— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) June 15, 2017
Prior to the 2016, the NFL Network's Mike Mayock said Smith's knee injury "may have cost him the No. 1 pick" in the 2016 NFL draft.
If Smith does indeed return to full strength by the start of the season (like Brandt said, the next big test will be pads in camp), pairing Smith with Sean Lee, an under-appreciated Anthony Hitchens, and a surging Damien Wilson, could give the Cowboys one of the best linebacker units in the game.
Two years ago, One Foot Down, the SB Nation blog dedicated to Notre Dame, provided this humorous take on why some Notre Dame fans have taken to calling Jaylon Smith the "Godbacker."
In the wake of recent comments by Notre Dame Head Football Coach Brian Kelly about moving Jaylon Smith around the Irish defense next year, sources have confirmed that the Irish are set to announce later today that the Irish will officially move to a 10-1 defensive alignment in 2014.
The Irish have reportedly been experimenting with the new scheme during spring practice. "Coach Kelly is very excited about the possibilities of the Irish defense relative to Jaylon Smith lining up in the God linebacker position in Notre Dame's new 10-1 defensive alignment next year," said a source close to Kelly and Irish Defensive Coordinator Ryan VanMorrison late Monday.
Here's visual breakdown of that 10-1 alignment with a detail of Smith's coverage duties.
Never gets old.