ARLINGTON, Texas– Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett always stresses that his team is looking for "the right kind of guys," suggesting the importance of leadership, work ethic and of course, character.
The Cowboys as an organization is doing its best to build character in players long before they reach the NFL status.
Thanks to the InSideOut Initiative that began in January, the Cowboys have worked with the NFL Foundation on a character education program that has been endorsed by the UIL and the Texas High School Coaches Association.
Since January, the Cowboys have helped host three InSideOut meetings with key superintendents and athletic decision-makers across the start to help bring awareness to this initiative.
This week, the Arlington ISD was awarded nearly $30,000 in grants from the Gene and Jerry Jones Family Arlington Youth Foundation to support a character training initiative for 375 AISD secondary coaches with Joe Ehrmann, former NFL Colts player and co-founder of the InSideOut Initiative and Jody Redman, InSideOut Initiative co-founder and Minnesota State High School League associate director.
"I'm thrilled that the AISD is stepping up as the first district to be all in for character," said Charlotte Jones Anderson, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president and chief brand officer and chair of the NFL Foundation. "It's very exciting that our local district will be the national model to showcase how to embrace and make character in athletics a priority."
The InSideOut Initiative is working with the NFL Foundation and Dallas Cowboys on a statewide character education pilot program endorsed by the UIL and the Texas High School Coaches Association. Only two NFL markets – Texas and Colorado – are currently piloting the effort with intention to grow the program nationally.
The InSideOut Initiative seeks to transform the current win-at-all-costs sports culture, where the value is often defined by the win-loss record, to a culture that defines and promotes sports as a growth experience. Through awareness, alignment, action and accountability, the program empowers school communities to provide students with transformative, life-sustaining sports experiences.
With leadership from AISD district and athletics administration, Arlington will serve as a national model for the NFL Foundation on how school districts can fully integrate the program across their roster of coaches and sports.
"The Arlington ISD is excited to partner with the Dallas Cowboys to bring the InSideOut Initiative to our coaches and students," Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos said. "We are focused on developing our students through sports with more than physical skills, strategies and rules of a game. Our coaches can have a tremendous, positive impact on student-athletes and change the trajectory of their lives."