SOMEWHERE NORTH OF LOS ANGELES – The Dallas Cowboys are taking an Amtrak train from their Oxnard, California, base for training camp to San Diego for Thursday’s preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers.
The players, the coaching staff, several scouts, front-office personnel, athletic training staff, medical staff, equipment staff and video staff have packed into seven rail cars for the four-hour plus trip. This is the fourth time since 2008 the Cowboys have used the train for their preseason game against the Chargers.
“I’ve never been on a train before,” linebacker Cam Lawrence said. “It’s nice. It’s a pleasant surprise. I thought we’d be cooped up kind of like we are on planes, but this is nice. Good sights. Lots of room … I was thinking it was going to be tighter, but we’ve got all the room in the world right now.”
Players are watching tape, watching movies or videos, listening to music or simply sleeping. Some players, including Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Sean Lee and DeMarco Murray, are playing cards. Lance Dunbar and Darrion Weems are among a group playing dominoes.
Defensive end Jeremy Mincey is hoping to get involved in some card games as the train rolls along. For now, he’s surfing the web.
“I’ll just scroll through the internet being nosy,” he said. … Just current events man, I’m into lots of current events. I was kind of studying the Ebola virus a few minutes ago.”
The only train trip first-round pick Zack Martin has taken before Wednesday was from the suburbs of Chicago to the city. Most of the offensive linemen were grouped within a six-row area in one car.
“Obviously we’re real close together and it’s going to be about four hours, so we’ll have some time [together], even more time than we already have,” Martin said.
Before heading to their hotel, the Cowboys will stop and visit the Navy SEALs for a quick meeting. Last year SEAL Marcus Luttrell spoke to the team after a practice and coach Jason Garrett took the team to see the movie “Lone Survivor,” which was based off Luttrell’s book.
Lawrence called that “an eye-opening experience to see him in person” and was looking forward to the trip to the base.
“I mean they’re a unique breed and it’s going to be pretty special being able to be around them and pick their brain,” Lawrence said. “Anything I can take from the experience and apply it to football, that’s what I’m going to try to do.”