Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys Hot Routes: Escobar makes grade as college graduate

Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar earned a public administration degree this off-season at San Diego State.
Cowboys tight end Gavin Escobar earned a public administration degree this off-season at San Diego State. Star-Telegram

Gavin Escobar always likes going back to San Diego, the place where he really developed as a football player.

Escobar went from being a two-star recruit coming out of high school to leaving San Diego State early in becoming a second-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft. Quite a journey, but he left college before he had completed his degree.

He made a promise to his family that he would finish school, and did so this off-season in proudly declaring himself an “Aztec for life” with a picture of his public administration degree on Twitter.

The Star-Telegram caught up with Escobar about his academic achievement.

1 On the moment he received his degree: “It was great. I took a lot of online classes, starting actually with my first off-season following my rookie year. It was a promise I made when I left for the NFL, so it’s just good to have it off my chest. I was just too close not to finish.”

2 On balancing football and schoolwork: “It was kind of tough managing my time the right way when I came home each off-season. I just couldn’t sit on the couch and relax, I had to get my classwork done.”

3 On pressure from parents: “Not really. There wasn’t a time frame for me. I just told myself that the longer I wait, the harder it’s going to be. That’s what I kept telling myself, so I just wanted to get it out of the way.”

4 On help from the Cowboys and the NFL on it: “There were some classes I was able to do through a different college that transferred over, so it helped that I could do it online. I didn’t have to go back to San Diego all the time, which allowed me to train at the facility [in Valley Ranch].”

5 On football or public administration career after playing days: “Well, I had a coach who said, ‘School first, football second.’ So first, second … football was always my main focus. I’m trying to make it last as long as possible.”

A large brush fire erupted about 1/2 mile north of the Dallas Cowboys playing field at about 1:30pm California time. A helicopter fought the fire, taking water from the pond at the adjacent golf course. No team members were out at the time of the

Smoke alert

A brush fire erupted about a half-mile north of the Cowboys’ practice facilities in Oxnard on Tuesday afternoon. The team was not practicing at the time, but it certainly drew attention of those around.

A helicopter fought the fire, taking water from the pond at the adjacent golf course (River Ridge Golf Club) and spraying it on the blaze. The fire raged for a while, but had eventually subsided when the Cowboys returned for their afternoon practice.

MVP odds

Online gambling site Bovada set the odds for the 2015 NFL MVP. Two Cowboys made the list of 33 players, both with 25-1 odds.

Quarterback Tony Romo, who received two MVP votes last year, and receiver Dez Bryant both made the list. Eagles running back DeMarco Murray, who led the league in rushing with the Cowboys last season and earned two MVP votes, also has 25-1 odds.

Aaron Rodgers, who won the award with 33 of the 50 votes last year, has the best odds at 5-1.

A documentary on Cowboys tight end Jason Witten will be released Thursday. Witten talked about after practice Tuesday.

Quote of the day

“Anytime we’ve put somebody in front of our team, we’re just trying to reinforce the message that we’re trying to convey to our team every day. And really the message is about being your best regardless of circumstance. We try to create environments where guys grow individually and we grow as a team.” — Jason Garrett on his team watching the Marines at Camp Pendleton on Wednesday

Dallas Cowboys rookie Byron Jones finds out the rookie always loses when pies and cake are being thrown by teammate Barry Church as part of the annual 105.3 The Fan's Pie Challenge at Cowboys Camp. Star-Telegram video by Paul M

Injury report

RB Darren McFadden

(left hamstring): PUP

LB Rolando McClain

(right knee): PUP

OT Chaz Green (hip): PUP

LB Mark Nzeocha

(knee): non-football injury

RB Lance Dunbar

(right ankle): Expects to return next week

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

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

CB Brandon Carr (hand): Underwent surgery Monday

DE Kenneth Boatright (neck): Rejoined team; out indefinitely

WR Dez Bryant

(hamstring): Day-to-day

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

DL Nick Hayden (rib):