The Dallas Cowboys struggled mightily on Thanksgiving day against the Los Angeles Chargers, but linebacker Jaylon Smith and his brother Rod won’t remember the day as a complete bummer.
Jaylon was very productive on defense, leading the Cowboys in tackles, but he is probably more happy about his brother’s performance. Rod led the Cowboys in rushing with 41 yards on 9 carries and scored his first NFL touchdown.
“It’s definitely an exciting moment for me and my family,” Rod said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Drew Davidson. “A lot of the guys on the team came up and were excited and happy for me. They know how hard I work and what I bring to the table. I got their back.”
Rod was originally signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2015. They waived him in October of that year, and he was picked up shortly after by the Cowboys.
Prior to this season, he only had 2 regular-season NFL carries in his career for 5 yards. Both of those were in his rookie season with the Seahawks.
This season he has 30 carries for 135 yards, the touchdown, and 8 receptions for 45 yards.
The football story of the Smith family obviously is Jaylon returning to the field after he suffered a severe right knee injury, including nerve damage during his final college game that threatened his career.
He fell from a top-five pick to the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, where the Cowboys selected him. He missed all of that year, but has played all 11 games in 2017, starting in five.
It is a miraculous recovery story, but there is plenty of room in the Smith family to celebrate an unheralded running back showing that he very much belongs in the NFL.