DALLAS, Texas – Everything is a competition on this roster – even giving back.
It probably shouldn't come as a surprise that 90 men, hardwired to compete at the highest level of football, would bring a competitive effort to everything they do.
With that in mind, the Dallas Cowboys made a whirlwind effort out of Hurricane Harvey relief efforts on Thursday. With no preseason game to play against the Houston Texans, the Cowboys' roster pitched in at The Salvation Army, helping to unload roughly $500,000 worth of apparel to donate to victims of the storm that has ravaged the South Texas area.
"This is a great scene – being out here with The Salvation Army, trying to help all of the victims of Hurricane Harvey with some of the Cowboys' merchandise, a bunch of supplies," said Sean Lee. "We have to rally around and help these people."
Looking at times like a relay race and at times like an assembly line, the Cowboys' players did just that. A container truck arrived at The Salvation Army depot carrying about 30,000 units of apparel, and in seemingly no time it was unloaded to donate to storm victims across the state.
"In our Fans United stores that we populate across the state of Texas, there's merchandise from all different universities as well as Cowboys," said Cowboys executive vice president Charlotte Jones Anderson. "So there's a lot of Houston's merchandise in there, there's some Cowboys merchandise – a little bit of everything. But before it went to the stores, we thought it was better for it to go to Houston and to the evacuees here in Dallas."
Cowboys players, as well as Cowboys coach Jason Garrett were in competition to see who could deliver the supplies quickest, not to mention most efficiently. The result was that a truck full of supplies was emptied out for donation in roughly 30 minutes flat.
"It means everything. We're here to help," said Byron Jones. "We have a big roster with, what, 90 guys right now – so why not put them to work?"
The work isn't going to stop there, either. With no preseason game scheduled for Thursday night, the Cowboys will show up for work at AT&T Stadium all the same. Part of the roster will undergo one final practice of training camp, while select veterans take part in a telethon to raise money toward storm relief.
"Unfortunately, we weren't able to play the game, but I think this is a tremendous way to switch it out," said Travis Frederick
While the younger players go through practice on the field, current veterans and Cowboys alumni will answer phone calls and take donations. The telethon will be televised on CBS 11 in the Dallas area, as well as 20 other local markets. Fans outside the market can watch a livestream on the Dallas Cowboys' Facebook page or on Periscope.
"We've had a 20-year relationship with The Salvation Army, and – as a matter of fact – when it began 20 years ago, my father said 'We need to be the Jerry Lewis of something,'" said Charlotte Jones Anderson. "So tonight, being able to have our own telethon with The Salvation Army, I think it's come full circle."
Those wishing to make a donation can call 844-790-5687 between 6-7:30 p.m., central time. Donations are also welcome any time at cowboys.helpsalvationarmy.org.
"This thing is more important than football right now," Lee said. "It's time to step up for the community, time to step up for Texas – all the victims of Hurricane Harvey."