Saturday, August 11, 2012
Stephen Jones: Comments overblown
By Todd Archer ESPNDallas.com
OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones angrily denied that his comments to KRLD-FM on Friday were a sign of him calling out rookie cornerback Morris Claiborne, who has practiced just once in pads during training camp because of a knee injury.
"No, there's no frustration," Jones said after the Cowboys' walk-through Saturday. "What there is and what I meant to say is in general, at some point, these guys have got to get back on the field. But we were not in any way being derogatory toward Mo Claiborne. Period ... I have zero worry about Mo Claiborne. How that gets there is beyond me."
Those comments came a day after Jones talked with KRLD-FM.
"Mo Claiborne's got to get out there," he told the radio station. "The times he's been out there, it's been impressive. But he certainly can't make the club in the tub, if you will. He's got to get out there. It's time. We got to start having a mentality that we're going to play through things."
The Cowboys signed Claiborne to a fully guaranteed four-year, $16.26 million contract that included a signing bonus of $10.2 million. He missed all of the offseason while recovering from left wrist surgery and practiced for three days at Valley Ranch with rookies and selected veterans before traveling to California on July 28.
Claiborne is recovering from a slightly sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee and will not play in the preseason opener Monday night against the Oakland Raiders. He did return to practice Saturday, and the hope is that he can play Aug. 18, at San Diego.
"Of course I'm frustrated," Claiborne said. "I've missed a lot time in the past due to my wrist. To have something else happen where I miss time, it's frustrating on me, but I can't do nothing about it. I just listen to what the trainers have me do and try to get back as fast as I can."
Jones said he's not worried about Claiborne's toughness. Claiborne played most of his last season at LSU with ligament damage in his wrist and did not miss a practice or a game.
"I've always played through injuries," Claiborne said.