A week ago, it appeared the Dallas Cowboys might have a prima donna in the 2012 rookie class when Morris Claiborne’s agent, Bus Cook, said he “wasn’t sure” whether his client would sign a contract before the start of training camp. Claiborne, the sixth overall pick who hasn’t participated in any off-season team activity thus far following wrist surgery, gave the organization a sigh of relief on Sunday and proved a new philosophy may actually be possible in Dallas.
“I’ll patiently wait,” Claiborne said. “I’m not in no hurry. You hear a lot of talk about people saying I’m holding out. No, I’m not holding out. I’m going to camp signed or not signed. It don’t matter.”
Talk about a breath of fresh air. Claiborne desperately needs to be active as much as physically possible during training camp if he’s to be completely ready for the 2012 NFL season as a rookie. The Cowboys proved last year that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s complex scheme can’t be learned in less than an off-season, so it’s imperative that Claiborne get as many reps as possible during training camp and plenty during the preseason as well.
“I can’t wait,” Claiborne said. “It’s been a while because of my wrist, so far so good. It’s getting healthy and I’m ready for camp to start.”
However, Claiborne’s humility and enthusiasm don’t override NFL rules; rookies cannot participate during training camp without a contract, so Cook and the Cowboys have until July 25 – the day rookies report in Oxnard, Calif. – to get a deal done.
At this point, the Cowboys are hoping Claiborne’s good nature will help expedite the negotiating process, but that’s no guarantee. Missing any of training camp could be detrimental to Claiborne’s rookie season, which could have a domino effect on the rest of the defense and the Cowboys’ plans, like what to do with Mike Jenkins. The humility Claiborne is showing proves that Dallas head coach Jason Garrett’s plan for a humble team is working, but that doesn’t mean it’s foolproof.