Cowboys Mo Addresses Team, Parks In As Backup

IRVING - On Tuesday at noon, Mo Claiborne cleared out of Valley Ranch. A day later, it's his head that is clearer, and the demoted cornerback has returned to work.

Cornerback Morris Claiborne returned to work on Wednesday, a day after angrily departing the Dallas Cowboys' Valley Ranch facility at noon a day earlier, reacting to his demotion from the starting lineup.

"We informed Mo his role was going to change,'' coach Jason Garrett said on Wednesday morning in his daily media briefing. "He didn't take that news well. He did return to the building last night and is here this morning. ... He will play this week.''

Claiborne, the sixth-overall pick in the 2012 Draft, has struggled to live up to that billing. The Cowboys on Tuesday even began the public process of lowering the bar, owner Jerry Jones telling 105.3 The Fan, "Is he what we had hoped for at this point when we drafted him with the sixth overall pick, giving up the (second-round) pick to go up to the sixth pick to get him? No ... But he's going to be a good player."
Claiborne received a series of pep talks from teammates after skipping Tuesday's scheduled events, including team meetings and film study. (The CowboysHQ column on those events, plus Mo audio, is here.) Some of those visits were to reinforce the positive angle of Jones' words -- that Claiborne can still be a good player. Others noted to Claiborne that the club needs all hands on deck for Sunday night's visit from the pass-happy Saints, and that even with Claiborne demoted below Orlando Scandrick (and maybe in competition with Sterling Moore, too) he'll still get important snaps in the game.

"He knows he made a mistake (in leaving the facility),'' said Garrett. "He didn't handle it the right way, clearly. He wants to play, he wants to compete, he wants to be a part of it. We dealt with it (with an in-house fine) and we move on.''

On Sunday, Claiborne conceded to CowboysHQ that he "stunk it up'' in the win at St. Louis, adding that his game sealing interception didn't offset his struggles.

"Not in my eyes," Claiborne said. "It seemed to do that with everybody else. Not in my eyes.''

"Everybody else'' thinks Claiborne belongs on the bench. Most everybody else at Valley Ranch thinks he belongs on the team. Less than 24 hours after going AWOL, Mo Claiborne -- his car parked in his lot spot even Scandrick parks in his on-field spot -- seems to agree.

In other Cowboys news ...

*QB Tony Romo participated in the Wednesday walk-through but will not practice fully today.

*Our wildly popular "Cowboys 100'' feature, Mark Lane's by-the-unusual-numbers look at Cowboys vs. Saints.

*We make sense of Orlando Scandrick telling us he's "pissed.''

*Our one-click Cowboys Huddle-Up: "Rush To Judgment.''

*How Bruce and Mo stole St. Louis.

*Fish's Premium column on how Dallas is disappointing the doubters.

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