Jason Witten’s first observation Monday conflicted with his nearly four-minute message to Gary Patterson’s high school campers.“Man, it feels good in here,” Witten commented after arriving in the cool comfort of the Sam Baugh Indoor Practice Facility from the 95-degree heat.The Dallas Cowboys tight end was a guest of Gatorade, speaking to the three-day campers on how to “beat the heat” by staying hydrated this summer. He will follow his own advice beginning Tuesday when the Cowboys kick off a mandatory three-day minicamp at Valley Ranch.Defensive end DeMarcus Ware, quarterback Tony Romo and offensive guard Mackenzy Bernadeau are among players who will miss the camp after undergoing off-season surgeries.“We’d like to have had all those guys out there — all hands on deck,” Witten said. “We have a lot of good weapons who aren’t out there right now. But that’s part of it. You want them to get healthy and be ready to go.“I do think we’ve been productive. We’re working together, good camaraderie, and hopefully we’re laying the foundation for something great.”This will mark the team’s last official off-season work before the players report to training camp July 19 in Oxnard, Calif. They completed their three weeks of OTAs last week with offensive coordinator Bill Callahan getting work as the new play-caller, albeit with Kyle Orton as his quarterback.“We need to finish this camp off the right way,” Witten said. “For our football team, we need to have most of the system put in so when we get to training camp, we can hit it with all cylinders. I think everybody is getting comfortable with the new defense, and obviously Bill’s role there, kind of taking over there with the offense. Our plays won’t change on offense, or our scheme, but just getting comfortable with that. Obviously, getting Tony back will be huge going into training camp.“This is a great time for your team to get away for a month but hopefully still put that work in, so we can develop a good team.”Briefly• Defensive tackle Jeris Pendleton will sign with the Cowboys and participate in the three-day minicamp. He played four games for the Jaguars last season.• The team will host a Father’s Day on the Field Rally Day on Saturday at Cowboys Stadium. The event is from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will feature appearances by former players Everson Walls, Leon Lett and Chad Hennings. Rally Day tickets are included with the price of self-guided tours, which are available at the box office ($17.50 for adults and $14.50 for children/seniors, subject to availability).
Charean Williams, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @NFLCharean