The Cowboys play in Oakland Friday, which is where they played their first preseason game last year, and where star tight end Jason Witten got seriously injured.
Witten got hit after catching a short pass and was later diagnosed with a lacerated spleen.
During his daily press conference, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was asked about the injury from nearly a year ago.
“We stood right outside that cafeteria, about three minutes after he heard the news about what it actually was,” said Garrett. “And he said, ‘I’m playing in that Giants game.’
“I kind of looked at him and said, OK what are you going to do in the next couple weeks? (Witten said) ‘I have to be motionless in my bed for two weeks.’
“I was like, huh, this will be interesting timing. But he’s just an amazing guy.”
Of course, Witten did make it back in time to play in the regular season opener against the New York Giants.
“Forget 110 catches, forget 8-time Pro Bowl, forget all that stuff,” said Garrett. “When you tell the Witten story, I start with that one.”
Playing in Oakland means playing on dirt, at least some of the time.
The Raiders play in O.co Coliseum, which they share with the Oakland A’s. That means some plays begin on the infield dirt.
“I guess it’s one of the last fields that has the dirt infield, and you just gotta’ deal with it,” Garrett said. “Reminds you of the old days.”
In fact, the Coliseum is the last stadium to have MLB and NFL played there.
It used to be common. Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia (among others) had those cookie-cutter stadiums born in the late 1960s and early 70s, stadiums designed specifically to be home to both baseball and football teams. Those stadiums had the rock-hard AstroTurf that was hard on athletes, but easy to maintain.
Cleveland’s old Municipal Stadium had both the Browns and Indians play there until Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field) opened in 1994. Candlestick Park hosted both the 49ers and Giants from 1971 until 2000.
Very recently, the Dolphins and Marlins in Miami shared Sun Life Stadium, but that stopped when the baseball team moved to their new downtown stadium in 2012.
So playing in Oakland is truly unique now.
“The approach is to remind them to get out there early, get your shoes right,” said Garrett. “Don’t let equipment beat you.
It’s just one more thing for the Cowboys to think about Friday night.