OXNARD, California – The Dallas Cowboys have officially arrived in Oxnard, California.
Most of them, at least.
A police escort from the California Highway Patrol led a convoy of buses from Los Angeles International Airport to the team hotel this afternoon, arriving just after 6 p.m. CDT. Most of the main stars made the trip together, including quarterback Dak Prescott and tight end Jason Witten, but the most conspicuous no-show was running back Ezekiel Elliott, who missed the Cowboys' scheduled charter flight at 1 p.m. Elliott can still make his own way to Oxnard and report for training camp tomorrow. Linebacker Jaylon Smith was asked about Elliott's absence, and he quickly deflected.
"I'm not Ezekiel Elliott, but I'm here," Smith said. "We live around the corner from each other. There's a lot of guys that didn't get a chance to make the flight. He's a guy that I love and trust. The official report day is tomorrow, and it's going to be a beautiful day. When you get that ocean breeze, there's nothing like it. We get a chance to relax and get everything fine-tuned tonight. We get here a day early before the official day starts tomorrow, so we're excited about being out here."
Second-year linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was among those who didn't make the flight. He arrived at the team hotel much earlier in the afternoon via personal Uber. Vander Esch is one of many Cowboys nursing minor injuries heading into training camp, and with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (shoulder) and safety Byron Jones (hip) both currently recovering from offseason surgeries on the "Physically Unable to Perform" list, there's a good chance that a large chunk of Dallas' roster will be limited or sidelined.
"We don't anticipate DeMarcus and Byron being ready to go right at the outset of training camp," said head coach Jason Garrett. "There are a few other guys who we're going to see about when they have their physicals on Friday morning. That's when we'll make an official status."
Tomorrow, Garrett, owner Jerry Jones and executive vice president Stephen Jones will speak to the media for their annual "State of the Cowboys" address. The team will then take the field Saturday morning for opening ceremonies and their first practice at 5:30 p.m. CDT.