Morris Claiborne had that moment – when he knew he was in the NFL – right away.
He saw Robert Meacham of the Chargers lined up against him.
Then, tight end Antonio Gates.
The Cowboys’ No. 1 pick knew – he was in the NFL.
“A couple of months ago, these were guys I was looking at, ‘Man, those guys are beasts,’ ” Claiborne said. “Just to be in front of those guys and play with those guys, it’s just been a blessing for me to even be here, be in this moment. I’m just trying to seize the moment.”
Saturday night’s game was the first preseason action for Claiborne, the Cowboys’ No. 1 pick, who missed close to two weeks of padded practices in training camp with a knee injury.
He said he had a good game mentally. “I didn’t blow any assignments,” he said.
And he got confirmation from one of the Chargers.
“Meacham walked by me and tapped me on the side, was like, ‘Good job,’ on one of the plays,” Claiborne said, breaking into a grin as he spoke to reporters. “I looked back. ‘Wow!’ You know?
But Claiborne said he put the compliment aside and went to back to work.
“I know what I have to do. I know all the people who are counting on me,” Claiborne said, describing how he was able to keep his focus. “So I can’t just get out there and be star-struck. ’cause those guys, they don’t care. They know who they are. If you’re a rookie, those guys are going to come at you and give you 100 percent. I just got to put that beside me. It’s easy for me to do. Just go out there and play football.”
-- Carlos Mendez