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May 27, 2014

Cowboys holding back on Claiborne after his two surgeries, but he says he's ready to practice full speed

Fresh off shoulder and finger surgeries, Morris Claiborne said he’s ready to practice. Whenever the Cowboys will let him.

“I’m feeling better than ever,” he said. “They’re sitting me out – just a precaution. I can’t control that. Just doing what they ask me to do until I’m free, until they let me loose.”

Claiborne participated in the individual portion of the first day of OTAs at Valley Ranch on Tuesday, but he and seven other players – Dwayne Harris, George Selvie, Caesar Rayford, Ahmad Dixon, Henry Melton, Dashaun Phillips and Jocquel Skinner – were held out of the team drills.

“You have to ask them, really, what they’re doing,” Claiborne said of the training staff. “I feel like I’m ready to go. But I got to do what those guys tell me.”

Claiborne did not speak with frustration in his voice. In fact, he smiled much of the time as he talked with reporters. He said he feels like all of his injuries are behind him and that he is back to a better playing weight.

“Once I got the shoulder surgery, I knew I had a new shoulder,” he said. “It wasn’t bothering me like it was. It wasn’t coming out. Just trying right now to get it stronger and get back on the field.”

Claiborne has rarely been healthy since the Cowboys moved up to take him with the No. 6 pick in 2012. He was coming off wrist surgery as he entered his rookie offseason. As a rookie, he missed a game with a concussion and missed a few practices because of migraines. Last year, he missed five games because of a separated shoulder.

“You go in every year hoping for a good year and an injury-free year, but it doesn’t play out that way, how you plan it,” he said. You just have to go with it. Whatever roadblock is ahead of you, you just got to go with it and find the best way to get through it.”

Claiborne said he did not try to put on weight this offseason like he did last offseason. Instead, he tried to add muscle.

“Kind of trimmed down a little bit,” he said. “Last year I tried to gain weight, and that didn’t work out. I gained and didn’t play. So I’m just trying to stay slim and stay where I can move and stay fast.”

Garrett said Claiborne looks physically better.

“He’s done a great job this offseason of coming back,” Garrett said. “He looks physically stronger to us. He’s moving around really well. We just want to do the right thing by him as we get going in these OTAs.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez


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