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Jaylon Smith is officially no longer wearing the AFO brace

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Brace yourself. Jaylon Smith has taken another step to recovery.

Dallas Cowboys v Washington Redskins Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

It’s been two years since the Cowboys drafted Jaylon Smith in the second round, and they’re still sort of waiting for that pick to pay legitimate dividends.

Jaylon has had moments where he looked like the star linebacker at Notre Dame, but he’s clearly been held back. Part of what is believed to have limited Jaylon’s ability beyond the actual dropfoot that he’s been dealing with. is the AFO brace he wore to combat it.

Word surfaced after the draft that Jaylon had been practicing without the brace this offseason, and that was officially confirmed on Friday. From the FWST:

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith says that he is no longer wearing the AFO brace for drop foot.

He said he has not worn it since he began working out again in February.

This is certainly good news and more hope that Jaylon is on track to becoming the player he was three seasons ago as a member of the Fighting Irish. The state of the Cowboys linebacker unit is in an interesting position with Jaylon, veteran Sean Lee, and first-round pick Leighton Vander Esch.

LVE’s presence will hopefully mitigate the situations Dallas had to toss Jaylon into during his first season playing at the NFL level. They’d originally planned to keep him on a pitch count of sorts, but injuries to Anthony Hitchens and Sean Lee derailed that plan.

If Vander Esch is indeed the MIKE linebacker of the future for the Cowboys then Jaylon truly can operate in whatever particular capacity the team has designed, and if he’s doing it all brace-less then it could be all the more special.