Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse’s emotional offseason to include shoulder surgery

Cowboys safety Jayron Kearse fought back tears after the team’s 19-12 loss Sunday to the 49ers in the NFC’s divisional round.

“I gave it everything I had,” he told reporters.

Turns out, he gave more than most on the outside realized.

Kearse will need offseason surgery to repair a shoulder injury he’s had for two months. The seven-year veteran suffered a dislocated shoulder and labrum tear versus the Giants on Thanksgiving, yet played on through the team’s postseason run.

“I battled a lot this year,” Kearse explained to media members at his locker. “I just…”

But his voice trailed off as he shook his head, stopping himself from going further.

There was a knee injury that forced his early exit from the season opener and cost him three outings. There was a back issue. A pregame scare when he landed awkwardly during warmups before the Houston game. And an MCL sprain against Tampa Bay just last week that he promised to overcome in time for San Francisco.

He did, turning in five tackles and one for loss against the 49ers, helping his unit put up a solid effort against a top offense by holding them to under 20 points.

“It’s tough when you know you could have won the game,” Kearse admitted, “and you’ve got to watch them celebrate.”

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The veteran, about to turn 29, wasn’t the only Cowboys defender who fought through personal health issues this season. He credited Donovan Wilson, Malik Hooker, Leighton Vander Esch, Micah Parsons, and DeMarcus Lawrence with the same perseverance he showed over the promising 2022 campaign.

“I knew we had a chance to do it. And I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to play with those guys, play next to those guys. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get it done,” Kearse explained, his voice cracking once again. “This is why it hurts so much, because I know we had the team to do it. We had the right guys to do it.”

And he knows that some of those “right guys” won’t be wearing the star again in 2023.

“That’s the harsh reality of his business,” he said. “But as of now, this roster is the same. When we go in that building tomorrow, I get to see my teammates. Hug them. Just be around them. And wherever the chips fall, that’s just where they fall. You’ll never have the same roster two years in a row. But I know we have the right guys. I know that.”

For Kearse and the 2022 Cowboys, knowing it will have to be enough. Because they won’t get the chance to prove it.

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Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire