Once upon time cornerback Mike Jenkins had a label of being soft.
But all of that has seemingly changed over the last week as Jenkins has showed grit, determination and toughness to play in the season opener against the Jets and practice through injuries.
He went into the game nursing a stinger and hyper-extended knee. He played anyway. He left the field a few times during the game after re-aggravating the stinger and suffering a bruised shoulder. But he came back and finished.
“It was impressive. It was impressive,” Coach Jason Garrett said. “He was banged up coming into the ball game. And he had a couple different things going on. He had a shoulder. He had a knee. And he had practiced hard through that last week. And he went out there, committed to play in the ball game. And he got banged up again in the game. He went out, came back, went out, came back, kept fighting and if you’re a coach or player on a football team and a guy’s doing that – just putting it on the line, fighting through some things, that’s inspirational.
“It’s really a positive thing for your football team and again we wouldn’t have put him out there if we felt we were endangering of injuring himself any further. It’s a guy being a tough football player and I think we have a lot of guys on the team who have those capabilities and they’re growing in their maturity and understanding of the importance of doing those kinds of things and Jenks is no exception to that.”
Garrett has continued to be impressed by Jenkins this week in practice as he was able to practice fully Wednesday despite still having trouble with the previous injuries and the one’s from the game.
And while the Cowboys have no question about Dez Bryant’s passion and commitment to being on the field, Garrett says he still has learn how to fight, play and practice through injuries.
Bryant’s rookie season was hampered by nagging injuries even before he suffered a season ending broken ankle.
His play in season opener suffered a dramatic drop off he sustained a thigh bruise in the first quarter. He didn’t practice on Wednesday because of the injury
“It’s impressive. It’s impressive,” Garrett again repeated about Jenkins being able to practice on Wednesday. “I think some young players have to get to that point and understand you are not always going to feel exactly right and you have to play through some things. You have to come back after being banged up in a Sunday game and function and find a way to get something out of a Wednesday practice and keep going forward in your preparation for the coming week. If something happens to you prior to a game, how do I get my self ready to function in the game? If something happens to you in a game how to do I get myself right to comeback and be there with my teammates? I think Jenks is showing all those things and it’s really impressive. He will have to continue to do that. But there is no reason to think that he won’t It was impressive to see him do it the other night.”