- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys concluded their organized team activities on Thursday with what has become their annual Cowboys U. football camp.
The Cowboys brought in 160 kids from 20 north Texas high schools from 10 different districts for a 6-on-6 round robin tournament with the Cowboys players as coaches. After the camp, the players went through a life skills' session with the players and coaches.
“A lot of teams I’ve been on do bowling outings or fishing outings or something like that,” said coach Jason Garrett, who operates a similar camp every June at Princeton. “We feel like this is a win-win across the board. Our players work with the kids and the kids have an opportunity to be with the players. Everybody is taking advantage of it. Our players embrace it. They get closer as a result of it. You see our guys running around the field high fiving each other, high fiving the kids, competing against each other. I just think it’s a real positive day for so many different reasons.”
Cornerback Brandon Carr will hold a camp later this month in Michigan and another in Duncanville, Texas, before heading to training camp.
"It’s a learning experience,” Carr said. “It’s an opportunity to switch hats and kind of see what the coaches go through on a day-to-day basis. This is a lot of fun just being with the kids and seeing the guys and how they respond to coaching and being with kids.
Safety J.J. Wilcox empathizes with his position coaches, Jerome Henderson and Joe Baker.
“Now I know why they get gray hair so early,” Wilcox said.
After handing out awards and a brief lunch, the high school kids heard stories from the players.
“I start with life is about opportunity, creating opportunities for yourself and taking advantage of them,” Garrett said. “We don’t have the kids ask the players for autographs or take pictures with them. But I encourage them if you have a chance to be walking in next to Tyron Smith, ask him a question, where he came from, why he chose USC, who’s the best guy he plays against, what’s the hardest thing in his life. All of those things can positively impact the kid. The kids do a great job understanding that and they develop relationships with players in a short period of time.”