Jaylon Smith provides proof of physical progress

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Actions speak louder than words. A photo is worth a thousand words. And so go the old tropes.

If they are accurate at all, former Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith spoke loudly Friday with thousands of words.

The encouraging video comes a month after the former Irish All-American and Butkus Award winner told The Dallas Morning News he could have competed in the playoffs “at an elite level.” While that may have been written off as mere optimism, the training video provides a bit more concrete proof Smith very well may be able to aid the Cowboys’ defense in 2017.

The second-round pick is now 13 months removed from tearing both his ACL and MCL against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, an injury that also caused nerve damage. The severity of the nerve damage scared off many NFL teams before the Draft.

Dallas returns all its 2016 starting linebackers—Kyle Wilber, Anthony Hitchens and Sean Lee—but only Lee has entrenched himself into a future starting spot. Whereas Smith is signed through 2019, both Wilber and Hitchens have only one more year remaining on their contracts. If healthy, Smith would most likely challenge Hitchens for the middle linebacker role.