Cowboys camp chronicle 2017: Family time
Follow the action from Oxnard, Calif. as the WFAA Sports team covers Dallas Cowboys training camp. Training camp runs from July 23 until Aug. 18, with a visit to Canton, Ohio starting Aug. 2 before the Hall of Fame game Aug. 3.
Thursday, August 17
In another edition of training camp throwbacks, we watch Dale Hansen get into it with Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer in a 1994 interview.
Switzer criticized Hansen, accusing him of "manufacturing" a story. The heated argument is something to see:
Tuesday, August 15
Training camp practices are all business, but when the final whistle blows, it's family time in Oxnard. Mike Leslie has the story (and the adorable video) here:
Jerry: No comment on Zeke
Monday, August 14
Jaylon Smith getting people pumped
Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith might be the most talked-about player in Oxnard, and he may or may not even suit up for Dallas this year while still recovering from a devastating knee injury.
Still, he gets people pumped when he makes plays like this one to end practice:
Thursday, August 10
Meet Samantha Hernandez
Samantha Hernandez is only nine years old, but has already beaten cancer twice. She celebrated being two months cancer-free by heading to Cowboys training camp.
Talking to WFAA's Landon Haaf on the sideline was pretty small time for her, even though she wouldn't say so... She's been featured on Ryan Seacrest's nationally-syndicated radio show and alongside NBA star Blake Griffin in a TV commercial.
Wideouts showing off the footwork
Dez showing off the hands
Dez Bryant made an impressive one-handed catch over Orlando Scandrick for a touchdown during a team scrimmage. The best part? Tossing the ball to Scandrick afterward...
Wednesday, August 9
A candid moment with Witten
Watch Jason Witten adorably play with his daughters on the field after practice:
Taking one for the team
This woman brought a sign to training camp saying she would leave her husband for Dak Prescott... And, apparently on their anniversary, he was cool with it.
Tuesday, August 8
Jaylon Smith not practicing Tuesday
Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith is not participating in the afternoon padded practice today, as the coaching staff continues to be cautious with him. Head coach Jason Garrett says that Jaylon will practice tomorrow, while fellow linebacker Sean Lee will get the day off. That will provide an opportunity for Smith to get extra reps, including work at the weakside linebacker position with the first unit.
Dak Prescott leaning on Roger Staubach
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott says he's received advice and guidance from Cowboys legend Roger Staubach during his young career. Prescott says that Staubach has talked with him about their shared trait of running the football well from the quarterback position. Prescott says he "idolizes" Staubach, not only for what he did on the football field, but also for his service to our country, and the business man Staubach has proven to be in his retired life.
"He's just somebody that you're just kinda forced to idolize," Prescott said. "Anytime I get a chance to talk to him, it's special."
Monday, August 7
Zeke to lean on vets, legends like LT, Dak, others
Jason Witten said this morning that he reached out to former Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek early in his career, for advice and guidance on how to do the job. LaDainian Tomlinson said in his Hall of Fame induction speech that Emmitt Smith was a resource for him. Dak Prescott told ESPN that he's received counsel from Roger Staubach in his short time with the Cowboys.
According to Jason Garrett, Zeke is following suit. The Cowboys second-year running back, who has had his fair share of well-documented off-field issues lately, is reaching out for guidance. Garrett didn't specify who Zeke has talked with.
Elliott hasn't spoken with the media during training camp. He signed autographs for fans for an extended period after Monday's afternoon practice, but did not answer questions when approached by reporters.
A sluggish return to the grind
Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett wasn't pleased with a few elements of the Cowboys morning walkthrough on Monday, as the team gets back to work after an eventful week in Canton.
On multiple occassions, Garrett told the offense to re-huddle, after tame breaks and sluggish attitudes coming to the line of scrimmage.
Garrett says he'll emphasize "focusing on each day", as the team returns to Oxnard. What transpired in Canton was fun for all involved, but now the grind is back on. The Cowboys have four days of practice before their next preseason game, on Saturday in Los Angeles. Garrett wants "four good days of practice" between now and then, as the preseason starts to crank up.
- Mike Leslie
Witten on Jerry's party
Cowboys tight end Jason Witten said Jerry Jones' Hall of Fame party Friday night was "one for the ages."
"I don't think anybody can live up to that," Jason Witten says of Jerry's party on Friday.— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) August 7, 2017
"That's one for the ages, right there, boys." pic.twitter.com/huDxoOrHfM
"I don't think anybody could live up to that," he said with a laugh. "I'd give it one hell of a shot, take a nice swing at it, but that's one for the ages there boys."
Back to work
Mike Leslie has taken over for WFAA Sports in Oxnard, as the Cowboys resume training camp practices.
Saturday, August 5
Hear from Gene
Gene Jones became just the fourth woman to present a Hall of Fame inductee. Hear from her about the experience:
Friday, August 4
Jerry Jones threw quite the party before his Hall of Fame ceremony in Canton. Justin Timberlake provided the musical entertainment, so you know it was a good time -- and Joe Trahan was lucky enough to attend.
Thursday, August 3
It's game day! The Dallas Cowboys take the field for an actual football game Thursday night in Canton, Ohio. No, you won't see Dak Prescott or Ezekiel Elliott (or many other starters for that matter), but here's what you can look for during the Hall of Fame game.
Canton turned into a Cowboys mecca Thursday before the Hall of Fame game. With the Cowboys kicking off the NFL preseason and Jerry Jones being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, there were plenty of reasons for the Cowboys faithful to be out in droves.
Wednesday, August 2
Dale's love for Hawaiian shirts
Watch Dale sing the praises of Hawaiian shirts, a look he's become known for at Cowboys camp over the years.
He admits that the shirts are a sort of shtick, but his love for the shirt transcends a unique look on camera.
"It's an identifying thing that kind of evolved over the years," he said. "But it simply started as something that was cool, comfortable, relatively cheap and fun to wear."
The Cowboys arrived today in Canton, Ohio, where they'll play the Hall of Fame game Thursday night against the Arizona Cardinals.
Jerry Jones will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame Aug. 5.
Watch a tribute to Jason Witten (No. 82) on 8/2, just because:
Tuesday, August 1
First team offense wins big in goal line
They are the most intense snaps of training camp, and in this new NFL you don't see too many of them. Today, the Cowboys worked on goal line and in 4 snaps of first-team vs first-team, the offense won on three of them.
It's the closest thing to real football in training camp.— Joe Trahan (@JoeTrahan) August 1, 2017
Enjoy all 4 of the 1's vs 1's in goal line.
Offense wins 3 of 4. pic.twitter.com/zhtxCJYHTn
4 goal line plays, 1's vs 1's the offense wins 3 times, including the Dak to Witten TD. pic.twitter.com/1feFxT74R1— Joe Trahan (@JoeTrahan) August 1, 2017
Dez working on his craft
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant enters his eighth year with the Cowboys. He's been healthy and working on his craft, looking for better production in his second year with quarterback Dak Prescott.
Several injured Cowboys will miss trip to Canton
Dealing with injury is a way of life for football teams, but several Cowboys with aches and pains will miss out on the trip to Canton.
Jason Garrett says these players are among those who won't go:
DT Maliek Collins (hip flexor), WR Ryan Switzer (hamstring), LB Justin Durant (conditioning), CB Jourdan Lewis (hamstring), and DE David Irving (ankle).
Regardless of your football pedigree, stepping up to the game's highest level is hard, real hard.
Cowboys top pick Taco Charlton is finding that out.
"It's a big jump," said Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett. "And there are going to be some rough spots, but you've just got to fight through them."
Charlton is showing that fight. Since day one of his NFL introduction here in Oxnard, he's been forced to be a quick study.
"Day one I basically didn't keep my fight up under me," said Charlton, finding himself on the ground far too often early in camp. "I was kinda too ready to hit something so that I wasn't keeping my feet up under me."
Monday, July 31
Byron Jones off to a great start at camp
The Cowboys are banking on a young secondary coming of age soon, after saying goodbye to a slew of veteran starters in the off-season. Safety Byron Jones showing early in camp he's ready to step in terms of leadership and his play on the field.
Some vets get the day off
Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Darren McFadden, Sean Lee and Tyrone Crawford were among the veterans given a day off Monday at camp.
JG listed the vets getting the afternoon practice off:— Joe Trahan (@JoeTrahan) July 31, 2017
Witten, Dez, McFadden, Sean Lee, and Tyron Crawford. pic.twitter.com/DCNIk97X0x
Sunday, July 30
Al Michaels on hand
Saturday, July 29
Dak's Dad makes surprise visit
Dak Prescott enjoyed a birthday surprise the night before he turned 24 years old. When he showed up for dinner Friday night, his father Nat was there at the table waiting for him.
Dak knew nothing about it and was pleasantly surprised. The elder Prescott also attended practice on Saturday.
Jerry Jones explains choosing backup Luke McCown
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says they chose career backup Luke McCown over Colin Kaepernick because McCown is someone they can groom for the future.
Garrett praises Dak
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott turns 24 years old today. Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, on his sophomore quarterback being wise beyond his years, says, "his intangible qualities are pretty rare."
Friday, July 28
Damontre Moore suspended
Defensive end Damontre Moore has been suspended two games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Moore was arrested for DWI in December, when he was a member of the Seattle Seahawks.
The Cowboys were aware of Moore's issues. He went through a program, was tested and signed strict contract terms with the team this offseason.
Recapping a wild first week
Joe Trahan and Landon Haaf recapped the first week of camp -- and had a little fun -- in a Facebook Live from San Buenaventura State Beach near the media hotel. Watch it here.
The players are off Friday.
Thursday, July 27
Training camp TBT
Throwback! Watch a director's cut of Dale Hansen remembering one of his favorite all-time stories: A 1983 feature on how Tom Landry was, in fact, Superman.
The power of the sign!
Kyler Mitchell brought a creative sign to practice Thursday. It read, "Hey Dak, my dad said he would take me to my first Dallas Cowboys game if I can catch a 25-yard pass from you...Help me!"
Challenge accepted! Dak saw the sign, gave Kyler an autograph and made the wish come true. Dak overthrew his target on the first attempt, but made the connection the second time around.
Kyler's dad said he doesn't know which game they'll go to, but he plans on making good on his word.
Sign my minion, please?
Just when we thought we'd seen it all, one Cowboys fan decided to collect autographs on a giant plush minion toy...
A classic training camp kerfuffle
Things got a little chippy during one-on-one drills at Thursday’s practice in Oxnard. Tyrone Crawford was lined up against Zack Martin, and something set him off. After a rep, he slapped Joe Looney and all the lineman quickly descended on the scuffle.
In a media scrum afterward, Crawford took the blame and said it was “childish” of him to fight his own teammates.
“We can bring that energy somewhere else,” he said. “Here we gotta get the reps in. I just came out with maybe too much energy today and started some things I shouldn’t have started.
I can’t do that. I’m one of the veteran players, and that was childish of me.”
Crawford attributed the dust-up to game-like jitters.
“I was nervous like a game,” he said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen with me today. Obviously I didn’t take the right approach.”
He said there were "six or seven" dust-ups during a chippy morning practice Thursday.
Switz goes down
Rookie wide receiver Ryan Switzer went down with a hamstring issue, Stephen Jones confirmed after practice. Switzer went to the trainers' tent during practice, but the severity of the injury wasn't immediately clear.
Rise and grind...or not
After an eight hour drive from Arizona last night, young Blake here was pretty pooped. He napped on the sideline like a champ during practice.
Cowboys add a running back
The Cowboys have signed running back Ronnie Hillman to add depth at the position. Hillman, who spent four years with the Denver Broncos before splitting last season between Minnesota and San Diego, has rushed for a total of 1,976 yards (at a 4.0 yards-per-carry clip) and caught 74 passes in his career.
The immediate speculation is that the addition of Hillman comes in anticipation of a possible suspension for Ezekiel Elliott, but several media reports have thwarted that theory.
Do I think Ronnie Hillman addition is about Ezekiel Elliott decision? No. Needed RB depth with Jahad Thomas hurt. Worked Tillman out last wk— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) July 27, 2017
Hillman takes the roster spot of Lucky Whitehead, who was released Monday in a poorly-handled reaction to his purported arrest that indeed did not occur.
Wednesday, July 26
A special day for Mykayla Herrera
The end of practice Wednesday was something special for 11-year-old Mykayla Herrera.
She got to meet Dak Prescott, who she says is her favorite player, and even got an autograph and a towel from the star quarterback.
Jason Witten held the young fan up to take photos.
Herrera has a rare genetic disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, according to the Modesto Bee, which featured her in a story two years ago.
Mykayla loves the Cowboys. Seven years ago, she visited with then-Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin, who now works with the team’s scouting department and met Mykayla Tuesday.
Jaylon Smith in pads
Per Drew Davison of the Star-Telegram:
"All eyes were on Jaylon Smith. The Cowboys view the linebacker as a first-round talent and he looked fluid his first time in pads since joining the organization. Smith took eight snaps in team drills, and will continue to be monitored throughout camp."
Defensive lineman David Irving lost a nipple ring during practice Tuesday...
I lost my nipple ring during practice today 😑— David Ja Rodd Irving (@Caliboy_95) July 26, 2017
And talked to the Star-Telegram about it...And we can all agree that it was TMI:
First day in pads!
The Cowboys held their first padded practice Wednesday afternoon, which will include the much-anticipated debut of Jaylon Smith in pads. Smith hasn't played in pads since he suffered a devastating leg injury during his final collegiate game.
Dallas and NFL media has been abuzz about just how much the nerve has regenerated in his leg and whether or not he'll be able to play this season. He's looked good in practice -- and even cut back and forth on his way to sign autographs to get fans excited -- but it's not NFL football.
The debut of Jourdan Lewis will wait one more day. After being found not guilty of domestic violence Tuesday, he'll arrive in Oxnard Wednesday evening and is expected to be at practice Thursday. In what capacity is yet to be determined.
Garrett says CB Jourdan Lewis will be here later today and at practice tomorrow, after being found not guilty in domestic violence case. pic.twitter.com/QJnbTxEBWo— Joe Trahan (@JoeTrahan) July 26, 2017
Dale sits down with Dak Prescott and Jason Witten. Look for the full one-on-one interviews Wednesday and Thursday night at 10 p.m.
Tuesday, July 25
After Tuesday's practice, Dez Bryant grabbed a young fan from the crowd and played catch with him on the field.
Joshua Williams is a youth football player and lifelong Cowboys fan -- and it just so happens to be his birthday.
"For Dez to come up and wish him a happy birthday and take him out on the field was very overwhelming and a very emotional experience," his mom, Jessica, said.
"It felt awesome," Joshua said. "We come every year and I never expected this to happen."
Military appreciation day
Try not to smile watching this Texas military service member get Dak Prescott's autograph.
She's from Del Rio, Texas and stationed at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Tuesday was Military Appreciation Day at training camp.
Jourdan Lewis innocent
Cowboys rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis was found not guilty of domestic violence in a Michigan court Tuesday.
🙏🏿🙏🏿— Jourdan Lewis (@JourdanJD) July 25, 2017
In what Dale Hansen called "the dumbest press conference I've ever seen" Tuesday afternoon, Jason Garrett repeated one line in response to any question concerning Lucky Whitehead.
"We made a decision yesterday that we thought was in the best interest of our football team and we're going to stand by it," he said.
Another twist in Whitehead's case
The Lucky Whitehead saga continues Tuesday, as Prince William County police have cleared the 25-year-old in a petty larceny case from June 22.
Whitehead was swiftly released from the team on the first day of training camp after news broke that he had been arrested for shoplifting from a convenience store in Virginia. Police had put out a warrant for Whitehead's arrest for failing to appear at a July 6 court date.
Tuesday, PWC police released a statement saying Whitehead's identity was falsely provided during the arrest in Manassas, Virginia.
"The man charged on the morning of June 22 was not in possession of identification at the time of the encounter; however, did verbally provide identifying information to officers, which included a name, date of birth, and social security number matching that of Rodney Darnell Whitehead, Jr.," the statement reads.
"Officers then checked this information through the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) database. The DMV photo on file was then used to compare to the man who was in custody. Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided."
Police are still looking for the man responsible for the petty larceny.
A Cowboys source told WFAA Sports' Joe Trahan that the team won't consider brining Whitehead back in the immediate future, despite the revelation that he wasn't involved in the theft.
Whitehead figured to have his work cut out for him this fall independent of legal troubles. Rookie Ryan Switzer, who the Cowboys took in the fourth round of this year's draft, will likely be auditioning for the snaps Whitehead would have gotten.
Monday, July 24
The autograph session is a madhouse
How do you make a crowd of grown adults go absolutely bonkers? Put a sharpie in the hand of a star Dallas Cowboy... Throngs of fans went wild at the prospect of an autograph from one of their favorite players.
It's the little things
Dez puts in 'five weeks of work'
Dez Bryant talked to the media for almost 30 minutes after practice Monday afternoon, joking that he put in "five weeks of work." He still found the time to sign autographs for military service members.
Dez spoke on his maturation process in his lengthy time with the media:
"I had an older guy tell me once, 'You’ll get it over time.' That’s for any young guy that’s having any type of situations, you’re going to get it over time.
"I wish I had a couple years back, I would say that. This opportunity is everything because it’s a short window, and you want to make the most out of it.
"You will look back, I feel like anybody I don’t care who you [are], I bet Jerry Rice, I bet Randy, I bet Randy, I bet all those great guys wished they could do certain things different. Just take advantage of it. Take advantage of the moment. Take advantage of the time, like just take advantage of all the good stuff that comes with the National Football League."
'Road to the Super Bowl' starts here?
Oxnard Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez unveiled a "Road to the Super Bowl" road sign during Monday's opening ceremony at training camp.
The road sign -- which may stay up in Oxnard -- is for Cowboys Way, the same street where The Star in Frisco is located.
More legal trouble
The Dallas Cowboys released wide receiver Lucky Whitehead in the wake of his arrest for allegedly stealing from a Virginia gas station in June, according to public arrest records.
A warrant is now out for his arrest after he missed a July 6 court date.
Lucky Whitehead:— Joe Trahan (@JoeTrahan) July 24, 2017
"I didn't even know about that."
(Any truth to it?)
"I don't know what's going on."
(Ever heard about it?)
Prince William County arrest records show Whitehead was arrested for shoplifting and petit larceny June 22 in Manassas, Va. after taking food and drinks from a gas station there.
The first day of practice is here!
The Cowboys have their first walkthrough Monday morning and the first full practice this afternoon.
Sunday, July 23
1-on-1 with Jerry Jones
We heard Jerry put his spin on the team's issues during the opening press conference earlier Sunday, but Dale got a chance to talk to him about the team one-on-one during Sunday night's Sports Special.
Dale <3 Rod Stewart
Dale sang the praises of musician Rod Stewart during a Facebook Live chat.
"I'm like a little teenage girl when he starts singing, I really am," he said. See the full video -- complete with some of his preferred funeral playlist -- below or here.
State of the Team
Jerry Jones delivered his 29th iteration of the "State of the Team" press conference late Sunday morning local time, defending his star running back in a domestic violence investigation against him.
“I’ve reviewed everything and there is absolutely nothing -- not one thing -- that has anything to do with domestic violence,” he said. “I really don’t want to answer any more [than that].”
Read more from the opening press conference here.
Saturday, July 22
Joe Trahan ran into Cowboys fan and Oxnard native Gino Deleon, who has the Cowboys' star on one of his teeth.
The Cowboys paid their annual visit to Pt. Mugu Naval Air Base Saturday, where fans greeted them and players signed autographs.