OXNARD, Calif. – DAY 8
We have been waiting for Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee to talk for the first time in camp and for some reason, I felt Wednesday after practice was going to be the day.
I noticed that he was signing autographs along the fenceline and kept one eye out while waiting for other possible interviews to come up.
But as luck would have it, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted No. 50, who appeared to be addressing a small amount of media and off I went. They say my run to the group served as great humor to the handful of photogs I know from the Dallas market who were already there.
Missing about the first two minutes of the Q&A, we arrived. He was sincere and to the point, but you could tell he was not comfortable talking about his injury that had sidelined him for an entire season. His answers were getting shorter and you could tell he wanted to pull away, but he was gracious enough to answer a few more questions from me before calling it quits.
Later I would run into him at the media entrance as he was headed to his room and I thanked him for doing the interview even though I could tell he would have rather not.
"You're welcome," he replied. "I just want to get onto the field before I talk more."
I can respect that because Lee is one of those guys who is not happy unless he can prove himself worthy to his teammates and contribute to wins.
Given his injury history, I understand what he is telling me. And that's what makes him a team-leader and franchise player.
Thursday in Cowboys training camp begins with an update on Lance Dunbar, who was not at the morning walkthrough. He suffered an injury to his right ankle during seven-on-seven drills on Wednesday -- the position where the Cowboys are most vulnerable, given the fact DeMarco Murray left Dallas for Philly. But his injury doesn't appear to be serious.
But in the afternoon workout, there was a major injury -- or so it appeared at the time: Two-year veteran defensive end Kenneth Boatright goes down.
He went unnoticed for a moment until we noticed medical personnel rushing to his side. Quickly a call is made for the stretcher from the ambulance crew that monitors every practice. The medical staff takes their time in preparing him for transportation to the hospital, immobilizing his head and neck before lifting him onto the stretcher.
At last report, he was undergoing a CAT scan at the hospital after he made helmet-to-helmet contact with big Tyron Smith during drills. We did notice movement in his extremities.
Here's hoping for the best.
Not long after that, Dez Bryant goes down right in front of us.
He stays down, sitting on the field before getting up and limping off, favoring his left leg. On the play prior to that, Dez dunked the ball over the goalpost but claims he was already gimpy before that.
Bryant, walking off the field at the end of practice, says he is OK.
Since Friday is a day off for the players, we have asked the Cowboys for an extra interview on Thursday after already completing one with big Zack Martin, the Cowboys Pro Bowl lineman earlier in the day.
JJ Wilcox is nice enough to join us right after practice, and what a joy to interview both of them. Highly intelligent and quick with answers. Both deserve a trip to the Super Bowl.
DAY 9 - FRIDAY IN OXNARD
The players' day off begins with a reminder of something that happened 10 years ago today. While we were doing our final broadcast of camp from the Ventura marina, ABC News interrupted Instant Replay that Sunday night with news that anchorman Peter Jennings had lost his battle with cancer.
Jennings had resumed smoking following the 9-11 attacks to help him get through the countless hours of coverage and, as a result, was diagnosed with the deadly disease that would eventually take his life at the age of 67.
I can remember Charles Gibson interrupting our broadcast that night to bring us the bad news and a tribute to Jennings, who I can remember getting the anchor chair way back in 1983.
You may remember he was part of a three-anchor team to begin with that featured Frank Reynolds and Max Robinson, with Peter anchoring in London -- the brainchild of Roone Arledge at the time, who was asked to take over the news division as well.
I had had the opportunity to meet with Charlie and Peter during my career: Gibson in New York at the ABC Studios, when we were in town covering the Spurs' first championship run in 1999, and Jennings, believe it or not, at my desk at KSAT.
Peter was in town to cover, if I remember correctly, a Presidential race and me, not trusting technology, had decided to keep my old electric typewriter while we made the transition to computers.
I was on the phone with a friend when I could feel the presence of someone looking over your shoulder. As I turned around, there was Peter Jennings.
I said, "Hold on," and Peter asked me, "I'm sorry to bother you, but can I use your typewriter. It seems to be the only one in the newsroom."
I said sure and told the person I was on the phone with, "I've got to go, Peter Jennings needs my typewriter."
I hung up the phone, jumped from my desk and said, "Have at it."
"No, all I need is your typewriter," he said.
"You're on a network deadline," I countered. "You get the desk, too."
It was my pleasure and even more impressive watching "The Achorman" write his own copy -- impressive, even in this day and time at that level.
He was very thankful after the broadcast had aired and then went back to rewrite the story for the West Coast version of the ABC evening news. Most people don't realize they do more than one broadcast each night and sometimes even more if the situation needs updating.
I will always remember that day, and thanks to the tribute by ABC this morning on Twitter, was able to relive that for you.
So now it's off to Grant Park in Ventura for our live broadcasts this afternoon, since this is a players' day off in camp.