IRVING, Texas – As the Cowboys continue their OTAs and point toward minicamp later this month, Gavin Escobar continues his recovery from the torn Achilles tendon he suffered last December in the 14th game of the 2015 season, requiring surgery.
"It's going well so far," he said. "It's very frustrating having an injury like this. It's my first major injury, so I've got to take it day by day."
With the injury coming so late in 2015, it remains to be seen how much time, if any, Escobar might miss at the start of the upcoming season. He isn't thinking about a set timetable for his return, though, saying, "I do more and more every week and I just do what they tell me to do. It makes it easy for me."
As he goes through his injury rehab with the athletic training staff, also can point to a pair of teammates who returned healthy from the same injury. Safety Barry Church tore his Achilles early in the 2012 season. Tyrone Crawford tore his Achilles on the first day of training camp in 2013. Both made a 100-percent recovery and are now defensive starters.
"They've been real helpful just telling me their progress, how they recovered and it just takes time – just to stay positive and everything," he said.
As a backup behind 10-time Pro Bowler Jason Witten, Escobar has split snaps with James Hanna the last three years, catching 26 passes for 303 yards and 7 touchdowns. The Cowboys have added tight end depth late in the draft the last two years, selecting Geoff Swaim in the seventh round in 2015 and Rico Gathers in the sixth round this year.
A second-round pick in 2013, Escobar is entering the final year of his contract. But he's concerned with getting healthy first while trying to stay in tune with the team's on-field work.
"The offense I'm comfortable with," he said. "It's one thing watching and getting actual reps. Right now I'm just trying to get all the mental reps I can."