For those who dismiss Sunday's game between the Cowboys and Eagles as meaningless, you might want to check with Jaylon Smith.

The linebacker suffered what many considered to be a career-threatening injury in the final game of his college career. Yet here he is, nearly two years later, ready to complete a 16-game NFL season.

That's significant.

"Yes, absolutely,'' Smith said. "Longevity is the big thing. For me to be able to put together a full season is a great feeling, a huge accomplishment but it's just the beginning.''

Smith did more than rip his anterior cruciate ligament in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl. He damaged his peroneal nerve to the point it no longer functioned, leaving him unable to lift his left foot toward his shin.

The Notre Dame star spent his rookie season with the Cowboys rehabilitating that devastating injury. He began to work his way back into practice in the spring of this year, held up during the grind of training camp and found himself in the starting lineup on opening night due to an injury to Anthony Hitchens.

Smith has started six games this season, filling in while Hitchens and Sean Lee were injured. He is second on the team in tackles with 97 and has forced two fumbles.