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Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith declares Pro Bowl a blessing

Jaylon Smith, Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith will be playing in his first Pro Bowl this weekend, which is something that Smith dreamed of as a child.

“It’s a blessing anytime,” said Smith, according to Calvin Watkins of The Dallas Morning News. “Just growing up as a child, you always watched these games and they used to be in Hawaii. I cannot wait until I get an opportunity to play in the Pro Bowl. For this to happen, it’s a blessing man.”

It has been quite the journey for Smith.

The 24-year-old played his collegiate football at Notre Dame and was a top prospect before having to undergo ACL reconstruction, which caused his stock to drop.

Smith slipped to the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and the Cowboys took him with the 34th overall pick knowing full well he would be sidelined for his entire rookie campaign.

He made his pro debut in 2017, playing in every game and logging 81 tackles, a sack and a couple of forced fumbles. Smith then showed vast improvement in 2018, registering 121 tackles, four sacks, a pair of forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, four passes defended and a defensive touchdown.

The Fort Wayne, In. native finally enjoyed his best season to date in 2019, racking up 142 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and nine passes defended.

Dallas may have been disappointing as a whole this year, going just 8-8 and missing the playoffs in spite of Super Bowl aspirations, but at least Smith was able to realize a childhood dream.