IRVING, Texas – As much pain as he was in, cornerback Mike Jenkins enjoyed getting payback on Plaxico Burress.
Jenkins missed the preseason with a stinger – an injury he aggravated on his first tackle of the season – and entered the season opener with a sore knee after hyperextending it last Wednesday. His personal injury list added another body part when he bruised his shoulder, courtesy of a vicious, never-saw-it-coming downfield block by Burress.
That block sent Jenkins to the locker room for several minutes during the second half Sunday night. The Jets tried picking on Jenkins immediately after he returned to the game, throwing a quick pass to Burress in the flat. Jenkins, who has been ripped in the past for shying away from contact, responded with a textbook tackle/body slam.
“I heard a lot of riff-raffing when he hit me,” Jenkins said. “He was selling out. That’s pretty much when I came back I had to hit him to let him know I was back out there.”
That 2-yard gain was the only catch allowed by Jenkins, who was twice tested deep, in the loss to the Jets. It was also the highlight of an impressive performance that Jason Garrett called “inspirational” because Jenkins battled through pain.
“I’m just taking it one injury at a time,” Jenkins said, half-joking with the new twist on the old cliché.
Jenkins knows he’ll have to play in pain for several weeks, especially with Orlando Scandrick sidelined indefinitely with a high ankle sprain and Terence Newman out at least one more week with a strained groin.
“At least one of us needs to be on the field,” Jenkins said, noting that it’s a good thing the Cowboys’ bye week comes early.
When Jenkins was on the field in the opener, he made his presence felt. He looked a lot more like the guy who played in the 2009 Pro Bowl than the cornerback who struggled all last season.
But Jenkins also showed something new. He’d never been known for toughness, but he battled pain and Plax in the season opener and more than held his own.