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Jaylon Smith wants to finish his career with Cowboys

Jaylon Smith, Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith is fairly far down the list of the team’s priorities right now, as they have to worry about extending Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper before they even think about Smith.

But Smith, who is set to become a restricted free agent after the 2019 campaign, wants to be a Cowboy forever:

“I want to be a Cowboy. I want to be a Cowboy for the rest of my life,” Smith said Wednesday, according to Jon Machota of The Athletic. “Understanding what they’ve done for me, taking a chance, taking a risk. Now they’re getting the return on their investment. It’s a beautiful thing to be a Dallas Cowboy.”

Smith is coming off a breakout 2018 campaign in which he played all 16 games and racked up 121 tackles, four sacks, a couple of forced fumbles, a pair of fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown.

But it wasn’t always this easy for Smith, who missed his entire rookie season in 2016 due to a knee injury he suffered in college:

“This is just the beginning,” Smith said. “I’m never satisfied. Everyone is dealt their own hand, it’s about how you respond. For me, the knee is great.”

The 24-year-old, who played his collegiate football at Notre Dame, was originally selected by Dallas in the second round (34th pick overall) of the 2016 NFL Draft.

He made his NFL debut in 2017, appearing in all 16 contests and registering 81 tackles, a sack and two forced fumbles.

Smith’s knee was bothering him after the Cowboys’ first preseason game last week, but he practiced on Tuesday and is expected to practice on Wednesday, as well.