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Saturday, October 27, 2012
Morris Claiborne welcomes Eli Manning

By Calvin Watkins

IRVING, Texas -- Rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne remembers his first NFL game.

He was nervous, but a good kind of nervous before facing the New York Giants on the road.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning targeted Claiborne four times and completed all of those passes for 38 yards in the Cowboys' 24-17 victory.

"I was just ready to play," he said. "I was ready to get the game going, just get all the butterflies out and I hate waiting and I just wanted to get it on."

Claiborne grabbed his first interception of the season in last week's 19-14 win over Carolina, picking off a Cam Newton pass in the end zone, and he was targeted a season-high eight times. In the past three weeks, Claiborne has been targeted 16 times and has allowed three touchdowns.

Overall, quarterbacks have directed passes 25 his way this season, three fewer than veteran corner Brandon Carr (28).

"I think they’re coming, what quarterback wouldn't go at a rookie?" Claiborne said. "If I was a quarterback, I would go at me and I just have to continue to play the way I've been playing and continue to step up and continue to get better each and every week."

Claiborne is playing well for a turnover-challenged team. He's tied for the team lead with three pass breakups and is dealing with some health issues. Claiborne sprained a knee in training camp and returned in time for the season opener. But he tweaked the knee late in the first half of the Cowboys' 31-29 loss at Baltimore on Oct. 14.

Claiborne is also playing with a brace over his surgically repaired left wrist, but that doesn't give him too much trouble.

"I'm used to play like that," Claiborne said, regarding getting nicked up. "I played the whole season [at LSU] with torn ligaments [in my wrist] and a high ankle sprain, but [I've] been playing through injures since I was in high school."