FRISCO, Texas – After three days of intense OTA practices at The Star, the players got somewhat of a break on Thursday, trading their pads in to become "coaches" for the day.
But don't think for a second that the intensity wasn't there all morning, as local high school students filled up two practice fields in the eighth annual "Cowboys U" camp, a one-day event that brings area kids to the facility in a 7-on-7 tournament.
Presented by the Texas Lottery, the camp pits eight teams with about 10-12 players assigned to them, including two from the Cowboys' leadership council.
The players might not be competing against each other on the field like they've done all week, but they certainly want the bragging rights as their teams compete in the round-robin tournament.
In the end, it was Dak Prescott and Jaylon Smith's group that prevailed, winning the tournament.
Views from the 8th Annual Cowboys U Camp presented by Texas Lottery at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
"Yeah it's fun. This is what it's all about," Prescott said after the tournament. "The back-and-forth between me and my teammates, just being able to do that and shake hands at the end of the day, it's all worth it. It's important to give back. Hopefully they take something from this."
When the tournament is over, the kids gets off-the-field discussions with the players on life skills, that can be just as valuable as what they've learned on the field.
"We're so privileged to play and coach football in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys - we're all living out our dreams," head coach Jason Garrett said. "To have an opportunity to impact some kids who are also playing football … it's a valuable opportunity that we have. I'm so proud of our players and coaches. They have such a great spirit and attitude. I think it's a great day for everyone."
As part of the event, Jason Garrett Starfish Charities challenged the participating student-athletes to identify a problem in their community as part of the Make A Difference Challenge. Students had the opportunity to submit applications with their ideas for change in order to potentially earn scholarship funds which will be distributed by Garrett during the camp. Garrett has hosted a similar football camp at his alma mater, Princeton University for several years and offers a similar scholarship challenge to the New Jersey/New York area youth.
Underwritten by Gene and Jerry Jones Family Foundation and the NFL Foundation, the camp is proudly supported by the Texas Lottery and Paragon Healthcare. As part of the day, the camp will provide each student: a camp jersey; athletic shorts, socks and cinch sack provided by Nike; and a Dallas Cowboys cap contributed by New Era. Breakfast and lunch are provided courtesy of Cowboys partners Whataburger, Albertsons, Dairy MAX, Pepsi, Gatorade, Dr Pepper and Dunkin.