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Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Rematch with Eagles 'special' for Morris Claiborne

By Tim MacMahon

IRVING, Texas – Morris Claiborne essentially circled Sunday on his calendar as soon as he arrived home from the Cowboys’ trip to Philadelphia earlier this month.

The Cowboys’ prized rookie cornerback wants to make up for the most miserable performance of his life.

“I look forward to every game," Claiborne said, "but just from my outing the last time against these guys, it’s a little bit more special, a little bit more to it for me.”

That last outing featured five flags thrown against Claiborne. He got called for offsides twice, defensive holding twice and pass interference once. He also gave up four catches, including a 31-yard gain by DeSean Jackson and a touchdown when Eagles receiver Riley Cooper made a circus catch on a fade route in the end zone.

Give Cooper credit for the touchdown catch. The penalties really bothered Claiborne, who made a promise to his teammates in the locker room after the win that he’d never play that poorly again.

“I believe it was just me,” Claiborne said. “They didn’t do nothing but run a deep ball, run gos. It was just all me, putting myself in a bad place, doing things I didn’t have to do.”

The Cowboys’ coaches put a positive spin on Claiborne’s awful outing. They liked the character he displayed during and after his dreadful day.

“It’s hard to think that the game could have gone any worse for him in terms of the penalties he had and some of the plays he had against him,” Jason Garrett said. “But I saw him continue to battle. He was feisty and competitive throughout, and similarly I thought he responded well after the game. He understood that it wasn’t his best game. He was determined to correct it and move forward, and I think he’s done that.”

The positive spin for Claiborne is that he expects the Eagles to try to pick on him again, which means he should have plenty of opportunities to make plays Sunday night.

“I’m leaving the door open,” Claiborne said.