FRISCO - To our OTAs-and-minicamp eyeballs, the Dallas Cowboys offensive line - predicted by some to be either a trouble spot or a competitive one - looks very much like it did a year ago.
Or, in the case of Tyron Smith, very much like it has for the last decade. Oh, and very much how he kind of envisions it looking maybe for the next half-decade.
“For me, it’s always been, 'Tll the wheels fall off, 'til I can’t no more',” Smith said of his playing future. “I can’t give you a time estimate or anything like that, but I’m going to go as long as I can. Whether it’s four or five years or whatever.”
Smith is a future Hall-of-Famer who has become an institution at left tackle. But there have been injury and ailment issues in recent years, that maybe got cleared up for good when he underwent surgery on his neck early in the 2020 season, causing him to miss 14 games.
There was also offseason gossip about Tyron's desire to continue playing at all.
It seems both of these concerns are now non-issues, especially as Smith, 30, is joking about being an "old guy'' while making sure to keep his good humor about it.
“You got to think as if you’re still a young guy,'' Smith said of his mindset. "If the team thinks you’re an old guy, you’re going to be an old guy. I try to keep a young mentality. That’s why I come around laughing and joking.''
Smith seems in an especially jovial mood as a leader of a group that seems largely unchanged from a year ago. Amid talk of great competition in the O-line, most of the workouts featured Smith and La'el Collins (also rehabbing) at the tackles, another future Hall-of-Famer (rehabbing) Zack Martin at right guard, second-year guy Tyler Biadasz at center and incumbent Connor Williams at left guard.
“Clearly, the biggest change offensively is really the health of our players,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “I think if you looked at what we tried to accomplish last year, a lot of the concepts, a lot of the things that we set out to do in the installation phase, we really never got to because of injury.
"So just the health of that (group) is going to be the biggest upgrade.”
Tyron Smith isn't pondering his health or his future. He's just ready to roll.
“I can’t think too much about it,” he said of the fact he's entering Year 11. "And it’s kind of that I don’t want to be thinking I’m old or 'almost done' or anything like that.”