FRISCO, Texas – As Jason Witten walked the hallway between the locker room and the Ford Center at The Star, a handful of reporters alerted him to a large mural of the 10-time Pro Bowl tight end hanging above – just one of countless striking features at the Cowboys' brand-new world headquarters.
"This is unbelievable, state of the art. First time for me to really see it," Witten said. "Words can't really describe it. It's the Jones family. It's what they're all about."
On Day One for the entire team at The Star, the players spent Sunday morning getting adjusted to their new workplace before practice. It's their first practice since training camp ended in Oxnard and the official start of a new age for the franchise after 31 seasons at Valley Ranch in Irving about 25 minutes away.
"Everything's here to make your life easier and give you the best chance to be successful. It's what cutting edge is all about," Witten said. "I haven't seen everything, but I think when you look at it, it's to give us the best chance to be successful, and then you have to go do it. I think they've done that with everything from the treadmills in the water to the indoor (stadium) to the weight room and all the facilities."
Cornerback Orlando Scandrick said it's the first time in his career he's had access to new training amenities.
"The locker room is much more open, the lockers are totally different," he said. "The weight room's nice. The meeting room's nice.
"When I was at Boise we had the old facility. We started to win, I left, they got all new weight room, new locker room, new coaching department. And then here, I've been fortunate to be going on my ninth year. I survived and made it to this new place. Now we've just got to win. We've got to get it done."
[embeddedad0]Indeed, the Cowboys are back home but still in training camp mode. The "dress rehearsal" third preseason game in Seattle is four days away. The 53-man roster won't be decided until early September. There are two preseason games left and much work left to do before the Sept. 11 season opener against the Giants.
"We definitely do have a tough team and a tough environment to go up into (in Seattle)," defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford said. "We want to make sure we get everything right, we want to make sure we play well, and we want to make sure we show ourselves and our opponent what we're all about."
The Star is an unprecedented professional sports venue with a nod to the Cowboys' rich tradition. The offices have six conference rooms named after the franchise's inaugural season and five Super Bowl seasons. There's a tribute wall to the late Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry. Under glass cases sit draft scouting reports of The Triplets: Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin.
As the longest-tenured player on the current roster along with Tony Romo, Witten appreciates the franchise's history.
"I do love that sign when you walk in for the players. Winning is everything – Mr. Jones' line," Witten said. "I think there's a clear message on the outset when come in here of what this is all about.
"The great thing about Valley Ranch over all those years is the championships those guys formed and won. That's what makes it a special place to be a part of. That's what you want to create here."
Go behind the scenes at The Star, the brand new Cowboys World Headquarters in Frisco, Texas.