They will arrive today in Oxnard not via the Cowboys’ charter flight, but by car because they have been in Southern California working out prior to the start of training camp. Despite their different resumes, they have the same feeling of anticipation.
“You want to have that feeling and that’s what football is all about,” Allen said. “It’s about to be real. It’s about to happen. You get that little bit of anxiety and it’s exciting.”
Allen’s first camp was in 2004 with Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers trained in Orlando.
“It was hot as crap,” Allen said. “I was a young rookie trying to figure it all out and it was fun and I learned a lot, but it’s all a blur right now. I remember being really hot.”
Allen and Magee don’t have to worry about that in Oxnard, where the high temperature for the next week is 70 degrees. Magee had been working out at Arizona State, where he said temperatures topped out at 115 degrees.
“That’s a walk in the park, weather-wise,” Magee said of the Oxnard weather. “But I know practice is going to be a lot harder.”
Allen and Magee share the same agent, Blake Baratz, and the veteran has passed on some sage words to the rookie the way the veterans in Tampa Bay, like Derrick Brooks, Ronde Barber and Ryan Nece did for him in Orlando.
“Will has been a big influence one me,” Magee said. “He told me a little bit about what training camp is like, but I didn’t want to know too much. During the OTAs and the mandatory minicamp he was on me about practice, how you’re supposed to practice, how you’re not supposed to hit people, how to study the game and keep your body healthy. He’s been a big help to me.”
Allen, who signed a one-year deal with the Cowboys in the offseason as a free agent, will likely be with the first-team defense for the first practice next to Barry Church. Magee, who was guaranteed $70,000 as an undrafted free agent, will be fighting for a chance to make the team.
“It’s a great opportunity and it makes you a little bit more motivated and a little more determined,” Allen said. “I don’t let it distract me. I just want to stay focused day to day.”
Magee said he constantly carries with him the pain of not being drafted, but knows he will have to make his mark every day. Part of the reason he signed with the Cowboys was their track record with undrafted free agents, such as Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Church and Alex Albright.
“Everybody knows it’s harder for undrafted guys to make the team than drafted guys, but the Cowboys make it pretty equal for both to make the team,” Magee said. “I’m just happy for the opportunity, and when I get out there I can show maybe I can be the next Tony Romo in that group.”