Ex-Cowboys Star Exposes ‘Zoo’-like Atmosphere in Dallas

Former Cowboys star tight end Dalton Schultz did not exactly rip the organization on Wednesday during an appearance on the “Pat MacAfee Show” on ESPN, but, at the same time, he gave a pretty clear indication of some of the aspects of being in Dallas that make life as Cowboys player more difficult than elsewhere in the NFL.

Ex-Cowboys TE Dalton Schultz

Schultz played for the Cowboys for five seasons, from back when he was a fourth-round draft pick in 2018 through the 2022 season. He hit free agency last year and found the market lacking, eventually signing a one-year deal to play for the up-and-coming Texans.

Speaking to MacAfee, Schultz said that having played under the microscope in Dallas, he appreciated the approach with the Texans, where it is always football first.

“That was one of the first things that kind of stuck out to me is like, it feels like much more—I don’t want to say college because it’s not,” Schultz said (H/T RJ Ochoa of “Blogging the Boys.”) But the focus is just football, you know what I mean?

“Going back and telling people how kind of being around the Cowboys practice facility and, you know, game day, describing some of the interactions and stuff that you see on a day-to-day basis, surprised a lot of people. They’re like, ‘Holy crap! That actually happens at a practice facility?’”

Cowboys Locker Room: Tours & 1-Way Mirrors

That, naturally leads to the question: What, exactly, happens at the Cowboys’ practice facility that is so unusual? Schultz said that his experience, at times, was that of being caged animal on display—a zoo animal, as he put it. And if you thought one-way mirrors were just for creeps and police examination rooms, think again.

They’re also a feature at The Star.

“There’s people literally going on tours while you’re lifting in the weight room,” Schultz said. “And they’ve got like a one-way, they’ve got a one-way mirror for people to like, look at. It’s literally—it’s a zoo, dude. There’s people tapping on the glass trying to get people’s attention as they’re doing power cleans or whatnot. It’s just, it’s different. That’s the brand they’ve built. That’s what Jerry Jones likes, that’s the way they run things.”

Schultz said he has not had that experience in Houston, and has enjoyed his time with the Texans. There’s less attention, but for Schultz that might well be a good thing. “This place is a well-oiled machine,” Schultz said.

Dalton Schultz Locked Up Big Texans Contract

Schultz liked Houston enough to re-sign there this offseason, ahead of the start of free agency. He posted good numbers, with 59 catches and 635 yards receiving plus five touchdowns, and ranked 14th out of 72 tight ends in football on Pro Football Focus’s grading chart.

He got the big contract this offseason he had hoped for last offseason, netting a three-year deal worth $36 million from the Texans. It was not, perhaps, huge news across the league. But that’s one of the benefits of having left the Cowboys.

The attention in Dallas is a bit much.

“You don’t realize how many eyeballs and how much that can maybe distract from stuff just in a locker room, being in the facility until you go somewhere else and you’re like, ‘Holy crap, like, dude, there’s none of that,’” Schultz said.

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