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Cowboys' Morris Claiborne: 'I know I deserve to start'

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Morris Claiborne sounds like he's in denial.

The Dallas Cowboys cornerback was benched Tuesday, then stormed out of the building like a petulant child. Wednesday he returned, and coaches said he would play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Despite playing terribly through three games this season, Claiborne believes he should remain the starter.

"I'm not going to sit here and say, 'No, I don't deserve to start,' because I know I deserve to start," Claiborne said, per ESPN.com. "But that's not what the coaches see."

Deserve is an interesting word choice.

To even the untrained eye, Claiborne has been picked apart by quarterbacks. His poor play got him benched last year, and neophyte signal-caller Austin Davis liberally exploited the corner in Week 3.

The stats bear out Claiborne's pitiful play. According to Pro Football Focus' tracking, the corner has allowed 10 of 15 targets his way to be completed; has given up 225 yards, second-most in the NFL; has allowed three touchdowns, tied for the most in the league; has allowed a 121.5 quarterback rating against him; and is ranked as the 91st corner out of a possible 96.

Given all these reasons, why does Claiborne believe he "deserves" to start?

"Because I've worked, I've worked for it," Claiborne said. "Night and day, I've worked."

Hard work is the baseline for keeping an NFL job, not the determinant of playing time. Performance earns playing time.

The sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft -- a player Jerry Jones called out as being a disappointment -- sounds delusional if he thinks his play warrants keeping his starting job. By every metric imaginable, Claiborne is right where he ought to be: on the bench.

He's the only one who doesn't think so.

On the latest Around The NFL Podcast, the heroes chat with two-time MVP Kurt Warner, debate the NFL's top throwing arms and preview Thursday night's game.

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