ARLINGTON, Texas – Thursday night, the Cowboys held their final preseason practice and raised more than $3 million in donations for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey -- all at once, all on the same football field.
In a sweeping effort to participate in the nationwide surge of support for people plagued by the crisis in south Texas, about 30 current and former Cowboys players engaged in a live telethon on the AT&T Stadium sideline while the rest of the roster practiced.
It was a selfless and sound solution to Wednesday's announcement that the team's final preseason game against the Houston Texans was canceled.
"I think they did the best thing, not just for us helping but for the guys for the other team to get back home and get back to their families," wide receiver Cole Beasley said. "The game is meaningless compared to what we've got going on down there. I think it was for the best."
The Texans flew to Dallas last weekend following their preseason game in New Orleans. The Cowboys opened their doors to their in-state neighbors and provided access to Ford Center at The Star in Frisco for the Texans to practice on Monday and Tuesday.
With no opponent on Thursday, the Cowboys continued to support the cause: Texans helping Texans.
Views of the Dallas Cowboys answering phones during a telethon to aid Hurricane Harvey evacuees at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The AT&T Stadium sideline became a makeshift telethon hub, complete with working phone lines and seats for the Cowboys to take calls. The telethon and closed practice were televised locally on CBS11 and streamed live on the Cowboys' Facebook and Periscope accounts, encouraging fans to call in and donate.
Funds raised from the telethon will be dedicated to The Salvation Army for the purpose of supporting the ongoing relief efforts to assist those affected by Hurricane Harvey.
About an hour into the 90-minute telethon, wide receiver Dez Bryant got a sizable pledge from a familiar voice: team owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
"He donated a million dollars," Bryant said with a smile. "That's a lot of money."
But every donation was meaningful, no matter the amount. Every dollar will continue to help Houston and other impacted areas rebuild and overcome.
"It's so great to see us teaming with The Salvation Army to try to put that smile back on Houston's face," Bryant said. "Anything we can do to help, as y'all can see, we're doing it. We can only imagine; we don't know how they're feeling. They need love and support right now."