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Greg Simmons' Cowboys Training Camp Blog: Last day

The first hour long IR at camp, an attack by the sprinklers and a smelly visitor

The final day in training camp always has it’s unique challenges.

Not only are you covering your final day of camp, you are also preparing for your biggest broadcast of the week and trying to pack.

As I told you on departure day over a week ago, we do not travel light. Part of the packing is also shipping, which includes sending some of the equipment back to San Antonio via FedEx to avoid baggage fees. That process can take up a considerable amount of time.

After a great dinner with my brother last night, we are in "work mode" early on Sunday when we are informed that Leighton Vander Esch will be our final camp interview. He will be ready following the morning walk through.

At the morning walkthrough, five-time Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin is nice enough to talk to us for the first time about his back injury. He tells us it’s a first for him.  He’s never felt anything like that before and is now going through the medical staff’s protocol to get back on the field. The good news is that he doesn’t believe it’s serious.

Now we have our new lead for the 5:30 p.m. show, but we must first head to the gazebo to grab our interview with Leighton and it could not have gone better. Billy breaks away to catch the Jason Garrett news conference while Mike and I pack up.

We then write for the early afternoon broadcast and our web platforms to get our viewers and readers caught up on the latest camp news.

The 5:30 p.m. broadcast is a little different, since fans are allowed on the field at the start of the Blue-White scrimmage. We are dodging more than our fair share of folks on the sidelines, but it gets on the air with no problem.

Now comes the fun part. It’s time to focus our attention on both the scrimmage and writing and editing for Instant Replay. This is the first time we have had the hour-long IR at Cowboys camp so there is a lot more work involved this year.

I am able to get ahead with all of the writing, except for the Blue-White scrimmage, and now I’m headed back out to the field to see what the scrimmage can offer us.

We are told Dak Prescott will address the media after the scrimmage, so we plan accordingly to not only interview the Cowboys quarterback but owner Jerry Jones as well. It was in that interview Jones was asked to comment on the tragedy that struck El Paso. Our thoughts and prayers are included with Mr. Jones’ remarks.

Now comes the final push to get the remaining stories on the air and on line and we work right up to the final minutes. The best was yet to come.

We notice about a quarter into the live broadcast the field sprinklers are firing, meaning it’s just a matter of time before they attack us. There are lights that are placed near the Cowboys training camp sign that must be retrieved but Billy spots a skunk nearby. He has no choice because the sprinklers are getting closer, so to chase the skunk away he claps his hands on the way down to the Cowboys tower. It works, but now we have to evacuate the field because the sprinklers coverage is hitting all the way up to the tennis courts outside of the field.

We decide to make our break to the press conference area following the second segment. Luckily, it works. Thank goodness the technology allows us to do it. This would not have been possible four years ago. The broadcast ends without any difficulties, but as we are finishing packing I can smell the skunk now in the hotel area.

"Billy, your friend is looking for you. He’s mad you did not allow him to play with the lights."

We get in one final dinner, only to get back to camp at midnight for a 3:30 a.m. departure. We arrive at the airport by 5:30 a.m.  At the same time, Larry and photographer Adam Higgins are catching a flight to Las Vegas for Team USA’s training camp with Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.  I told Larry I will wave to him in the air as we cross somewhere around Phoenix.

When we land, I will have just enough time to head home, change clothes, write the 5 p.m. broadcast and head in. Another Cowboys camp in the books.

Thanks for following along with us!


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