McCarthy not ready to give up on Aldon Smith’s return to Cowboys

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Todd Brock
·3 min read
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Former Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett typically played things very close to the vest in his press conferences. He controlled the message tightly, to the point of frequently regurgitating meaningless coachspeak and recycling generic soundbites in lieu of giving actual answers to the questions asked.

Mike McCarthy also prefers to hold back information whenever he can, but every once in a while, he surprises everyone with a moment of unexpected frankness.

Or two.

Despite widely-shared news that defensive end Aldon Smith has been notified by the club that they’ll move on without him this season, McCarthy told a slightly different story that doesn’t close the book on Smith’s return to an evolving Dallas defense.

“First, Aldon Smith: that’s still fluid. I personally haven’t moved on. I was in a conversation yesterday about Aldon, so we’ll see how that works out moving forward,” McCarthy said during his first press conference of the offseason. “In general, you really don’t want players that can do one thing. If a guy is just really good at one component of his game, he’s got to be the best in the business at it. The ability to play a 3-technique, also play a 4-inside shade technique, to come out and play a 5, Aldon can play the 6, he can play the 9. So that’s the flexibility that you’re looking for. The three veteran linemen that we signed [Carlos Watkins, Brent Urban, and Tarell Basham] all also have that capability. When I talk about the growth, talking about 3-4 versus 4-3, the variation of guys being able to play multiple techniques and have the length… Aldon fits that. So we’re still talking there.”

During the same press conference, McCarthy also- somewhat accidentally- blurted out that Tyrone Crawford would be retiring, stealing the thunder from the defensive lineman being able break the news himself.

“Tyrone just came to me right away in the exit interview process, and he’s…” McCarthy stopped himself and looked off-camera to the team’s public relations guru Rich Dalrymple.

“Should I address this now, or…?”

With the cat already out of the bag, McCarthy continued.

“I’m sorry, I guess I did. I’m sorry. He’s going to move on. He’s going to retire. But he’s going to be here in the area; he lives right down the road, and I’ve actually seen him a couple times since.”

The team posted to social media after the press conference, confirming the coach’s possibly-premature reveal.

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Cowboys fans intrigued by what they saw from Aldon Smith in his 2020 comeback season can only hope that McCarthy also ends up being prescient about the door still being open for his return in 2021.

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