Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith A Unique Finalist For Butkus Award

Mike Fisher
January 03, 2019 - 12:43 pm
Jaylon Smith

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FRISCO (105.3 THE FAN) - Dallas Cowboys standout Jaylon Smith has a history of overcoming adversity and impressing critics. He also has a history of being involved in the Dick Butkus Award, given to football's best linebacker - at the high school, college and professional levels.

He won that award in 2012 at Bishop Luers High School in Fort Wayne, Ind. He won it again in 2015 at Notre Dame. And now Smith is up for the honor again at the NFL level, joining a group of impressive finalists: Carolina’s Luke Kuechly, Indianapolis’ Darius Leonard, Chicago’s Khalil Mack, Denver’s Von Miller and Seattle’s Bobby Wagner.

Smith and Wagner's teams will face each other Saturday night in the NFL Playoffs at AT&T Stadium. where the Cowboys hope Smith's incredible climb continues.

The second-year Cowboys linebacker, drafted in 2016's second round of the NFL Draft despite a devastating knee injury that some thought would prevent him from playing football again, has posted a career-high 150 tackles (five for loss) and ranks fourth on the team with four sacks. He's also been a force in pass defense and even has a 69-yard return for a touchdown for the 10-6 Cowboys.

Smith was bothered a bit by being snubbed by Pro Bowl voters - “Some of it’s blasphemy,” Smith said a few days ago - but this honor puts him among the game's elite.

“You just got to continue to work,'' Smith said of being overlooked. "It’s all about creating the edge. I love this game and I’ll keep playing it hard.”