Jason Witten spent his Saturday morning as an instructor. It’s the same role he expects to use with Cowboys rookie tight end Gavin Escobar.
“For me, I was fortunate enough to have a coach like Bill [Parcells] to teach me to be a good tight end,” Witten said at his 4th annual Jason Witten Football ProCamp on Saturday. “I’ll do the same with [Escobar], and we’ll set the bar high.”
Gavin Escobar was taken in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He’s the third tight end taken in the second round since 2006. This is from a franchise that only took two in the first round only twice in franchise history. Critics have panned the pick because of Escobar’s reputation as a receiving tight end when the Cowboys are in clear need of a blocking tight end.
Witten knows about labels. Bill Parcells would sneer at the rookie Witten in 2003 training camp for being a “receiving tight end.”
“Well, Bill had a lot of criticisms of me, not just blocking,” Witten shared with a smile. “There’s everybody that’s going to label you as a player. At some point, you have to decide what player you want to be and go work your tail off in becoming like that. Only [Escobar] can decide what he wants to do there.”
The six-time All Pro is “excited” to work with rookie Escobar and forewarns him that, “the bar is set high here.”
“[He'll] recognize that and embrace that and help our football team win,” said Witten
The Cowboys are coming off of consecutive 8-8 seasons punctuated with letting the division title slip through their fingers on Sunday Night Football on the road. Witten believes that the players are to blame, not the head coach.
“We have to play better in those situations when we get in those close games. We got to find ways to win them at this point moving forward.”
The 2013 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year is finding ways to give back to North Texas, an area that has been so good to him. His partnership with ProCamps and camp director Rod Huber reflects that. The Jason Witten Football ProCamp invites the area’s top 35 prep football coaches to help coach 350 kids, grades 1-8, in ways of improving their grid iron skills.
“I’m fortunate that our foundation has been able to do some really cool stuff,” Witten explained. “And have great people that have partnered with us and believe in sharing the same dream that my foundation shares.”
The Cincinnati-based ProCamps Worldwide’s expertise is planning youth athletic camps for some of pro sports’ most visible and marketable athletes. ProCamps’ reputation since 1998 has been its industry leadership among players, agents, sponsors, parents, and youth athletes. For more information, visit http://www.procamps.com