Dallas Cowboys rookie Tyler Smith refuses to be slowed by Blount’s illness

Dallas’ first-round pick out of Tulsa suffered a condition that causes severe bowing of the leg bones

FRISCO — Leaving the driving range in The Starafter Friday’s session of Rookie Minicamp, Tyler Smith he felt good about his performance.

“I’m not going to lie, I surprise myself, sometimes,” revealed the first-round pick for the Dallas Cowboysafter lining up at left guard for the first time since his final season in the North Crowley High School from Fort Worth, Texas. “It was a great feeling.”

Smith always thought it would end here. Maybe not with cowboysbut was in middle or high school when he revealed his goal to his mother, Patricia.

“I just remember him telling me, ‘Mom, I want to play at the highest level. I want to play at the NFL‘” she recalled. “I told him I supported him 100 percent.”

The way of Smith from North Crowley to the cowboys and a $13.38 million guaranteed contract was far from easy. It’s almost over because of the blount’s disease, a condition that affects the growth plates of the shin bone and causes severe stooping. The condition is rare, affecting less than 1 percent of the population, according to the Cleveland Clinic. At 16, Smith was diagnosed with the condition.

“Let me put it this way: There aren’t many more painful things in life,” he explained. Smith.

After visiting a handful of specialists, Smith and her mother decided she needed surgery.

“She needed to perform to improve her quality of life,” her mother said.

The Dr Lauren Lamont was one of the surgeons involved in the care of Smith. She said that even at 16, the size of Smith (approximately 6 feet 5 inches and 300 pounds) presented quite a challenge to examine him on the pediatric tables of the Cook Childrens Hospital in Fort-Worth.

But, she also remembers how inquisitive he was about the surgery and posture correction, asking a lot of questions that many teenagers wouldn’t.

“When I first met Tyler and his mother, they let me know how important football was to Tyler“, revealed Lamont. “If you had not submitted Tyler to surgery, he could have been left with a higher risk of degenerative knee conditions earlier in his life, possibly shortening the time he could play football.

Three days after the final game of his third season, he underwent an osteotomy, which included attaching an external brace to his lower leg to stabilize the realigned and fractured bones. Smith He had to wear the stabilizer for four months.

After the surgery, he was given a wheelchair.

“He didn’t want the chair at all,” recalls his mother. “He was on crutches. He was absolutely determined to have a normal school experience, even with those huge metal bars sticking out of his leg.”

“It’s very similar to what Alex Smith had on his leg, if they are familiar with his history,” said Tyler Smithreferring to the former quarterback of NFL who almost lost his leg after a compound fracture suffered in 2018.

Smith he has physical memories of the bar, if you look at his leg closely.

“I have some scars where the rods were,” he said, looking down at his leg. “It’s not that bad. I still look sexy, so all good.”

surgery, according to Smith“It’s like changing your body. It’s like carpentry for your body.”

“That definitely increased my need to prove myself,” he admitted. “I’m not going to lie. When it comes to iron man football, there’s nothing I’m not willing to do. Whether it’s broken fingers, fractured thumbs, sprains, it doesn’t matter, because all of that pales in comparison.”

Before the surgery Smithhis high school coaches don’t remember him missing a game or practice or complaining about the pain.

“I mean, it was noticeable that it was so arched, but it’s hard as anything,” he said. Eugene Rogerscoach of Smith for his first three seasons of high school. “He was one of the strongest guys we had as a freshman. Because of the leg, he wasn’t able to use proper technique, but he was brute force.”

Courtney Allenhis coach for his final season, recalls a limp on video, before he Smith underwent surgery.

“He was still lifting weights while having that in his leg, but he was focusing on his upper body,” he explained. Allen. “Over the summer, he started to progress where he was running more, cutting more, all that stuff. He said, ‘Coach, I’ll be ready. I’ll be ready.’ He didn’t miss a game.”

Smith he underwent physical therapy sessions before school, at 6 am By the summer of his final season, he was already training hard.

“You could tell he was fine,” his mother recalled. “I wasn’t limping anymore. There was no pain anymore.”

But, there were no scholarship offers from major universities, yet. When they saw play for the first time Smith, rogers Y Allen they thought he had college football-level skill, and a chance to NFL. Smith initially committed to Abilene Christiana school of FCS. houston showed some interest, too.

“I’m heartbroken in front of everyone, trying to say, ‘I get it. It’s an investment, isn’t it? But I’m telling you, this kid has got talent. NFL. He’s a Power 5 talent,'” he confessed. Allen. “I remember talking to some really bad shows, and they didn’t want to do it, and I was like, ‘Are you serious? But, at the end of the day, it only takes one. It only takes one. Tulsa“.

In Tulsa, Tyler he played in four games as a genuine freshman, but kept his redshirt season. Over the next two years, he started 21 games at left tackle. He was named All-American first team in the Athletic Conference in 2020, and second team in 2021. Smith could have returned to Tulsa in 2022. Some schools in the Power 5 who avoided him leaving high school tried to lead him to the transfer portal. Instead, he declared for the draft of the NFL early, with the goal of being a first-round draft pick.

During the draft process, he received questions regarding the disease of Blount, explaining surgery, rehabilitation and recovery. If the schools felt reluctance when I got out of high school, the high school teams NFL They seemed to be more receptive.

The cowboys they had no fear.

“Being a young guy and seeing all the positive things and then talking to the doctors, there was no issue, so we were comfortable with it,” said the vice president of personnel for the CowboysWill McClay.

A Smith was given No. 73, worn by the member of the Hall of Fame, Larry Allen, and he’s lining up at left guard. His locker inside The Star it’s a few feet from the guard’s locker Zack Martin. since the draft, Smith has talked and exchanged text messages with the chosen seven times at Pro Bowl.

The advice of Martin: “It arrives fit, and it arrives ready to produce,” he shared Tyler.

Smith he is in the early days of his professional career, one that he hopes will last a long time, and serve as an example to others.

“When I had my surgery, when I had to recover, I just knew that I had to pick up where I left off, because if someone had to do it, it had to be me,” he admitted. Smith. “I want guys out there to know that if you put a good amount of work together, you can accomplish anything.”

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Dallas Cowboys rookie Tyler Smith refuses to be slowed by Blount’s illness