Cowboys Hot Routes: Tyrone Crawford spreads anti-bullying message

Defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford is doing his part to promote anti-bullying campaigns to children.
Defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford is doing his part to promote anti-bullying campaigns to children. Star-Telegram

At 6-foot-4, 290 pounds, Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford is an imposing presence. He’s not someone you would think would get picked on growing up.

But Crawford, like many kids, had his own bouts with bullying as a youngster in Windsor, Ontario, even though it might not have come in the traditional fashion. He had his struggles in school, dreading when called to read aloud or hearing his test score announced in front of the class.

“It wasn’t great experiences in the classroom, and I tried to go about it all the wrong ways,” Crawford said. “I definitely experienced that sort of mental bullying when I was in school.”

With that being said, Crawford has started to help in the anti-bullying campaigns that have become more mainstream in recent years. He, his brother and his cousin, Canadian football player Daryl Townsend, run a football camp every off-season — Windsor’s Finest Football Academy — with the underlying message centered on anti-bullying.

1 Why does bullying hit home for you? “All three of us went through bullying at some point in our lives, either being the bully or being bullied. So we wanted to tell our stories and try to help the movement to stop it. Not only in our city, but we’re trying to reach out to as many people as possible.”

2 Describe your experiences with it. “I was never really the bully, but like I’ve said the classroom experiences weren’t great. Being a physical guy, sometimes I tried to be physical about it, but that’s one of the things we try to stop too is fights and that kind of stuff.”

3 Does it help it’s becoming a more well-known issue? “Definitely. We try to reach out to anti-bullying groups in our city, and there’s a crazy amount in our city alone. We’re teaming up with as many as we can and we feel like we’ve done a great job.”

4 What do you hope the kids take away? “We really harp on football and character, but mostly character and doing the right things. We try to bring success around the kids, so they can see what it takes to become successful.”

5 Extra point. Unrelated to his football camp … but Crawford won the Ed Block Courage Award this off-season, given to players who exemplify “commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.” He had an impressive 2014 season after missing 2013 with an Achilles injury.

Strong first impression

David Porter wasted no time in making a favorable impression hours after joining the Cowboys.

The former TCU receiver worked out at 11:30 a.m. Sunday, doing enough to earn a spot on the 90-man roster. At 3:45 p.m. that day, he was practicing with the Cowboys and had scored three touchdowns by 4:30 p.m.

“It was one of the greatest debuts I’ve ever seen in my life,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s someone that we liked coming in obviously to bring him in for the workout. And we’re glad we did.”

Porter was cut by the Broncos last week, and was happy to get another opportunity to join an NFL team, particularly his hometown team.

“My dad is a diehard Cowboys fan. Every Sunday we’d go over to my uncle’s house and the whole family is there and we’d watch the Cowboys game,” said Porter, who played high school football at DeSoto. “I always grew up watching the Cowboys, and it really is a dream come true to even be out here with this opportunity.”

Golf cart perks

Among the biggest perks for the nine off-season program winners was access to golf carts during training camp. It ranks as the No. 1 way to get around the Oxnard complex.

“The golf carts were something they were kind of begging for, so we pulled it off,” Garrett said.

The players with carts are: left tackle Tyron Smith, running back Lance Dunbar, tight end Jason Witten, wide receiver Cole Beasley, safety Jeff Heath, cornerback Tyler Patmon, linebacker Kyle Wilber, defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and punter Chris Jones.

Quotes of the day

“They’re going to be better this year than they were last year. ... That fight today was a good indication that they mean business.” — Baseball Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda, who attended Tuesday’s practice. So did Hollywood star Jamie Foxx

Injury report

▪ LB Rolando McClain (right knee): PUP

▪ OT Chaz Green (hip): PUP

G Zack Martin (stinger): Being further evaluated

▪ LB Mark Nzeocha (knee): non-football injury

▪ OT Tyron Smith (biceps): Out until after San Francisco game

▪ CB Byron Jones (left shoulder): Seeking second opinion

▪ DT Terrell McClain (knee/hamstring): Day-to-day

▪ DE Kenneth Boatright (neck): Returned to Dallas for further evaluation; out indefinitely

▪ WR Dez Bryant (hamstring): Out until after San Francisco game

▪ WR Antwan Goodley (hamstring): Day-to-day

▪ WR Cole Beasley (Achilles): Day-to-day

▪ CB Orlando Scandrick (knee): Day-to-day

▪ TE James Hanna (left knee): Day-to-day

▪ RB Gus Johnson (separated shoulder): Day-to-day

▪ CB Brandon Carr (right hand): Day-to-day

▪ LB Anthony Hitchens (foot): Day-to-day

▪ DT Tyrone Crawford (back): Day-to-day

▪ S Barry Church (ribs): Day-to-day

▪ TE Gavin Escobar (concussion): Has to pass concussion protocol

▪ OG Ron Leary (back): Day-to-day