Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he brought in a guest speaker before Wednesday’s practice who was “off the charts” in terms of stressing themes about preparation, adaptability, mental toughness, accountability and trust.
The speaker: Gen. David Rodriguez, who oversees the 800,000 troops in the U.S. Army. Rodriguez, a former defensive end at Army who recently led U.S. forces in Afghanistan, is the brother-in-law from the other side of the family of one of Garrett’s brother-in-laws.
“He’s in a different league than the rest of us. Off the charts,” Garrett said today. “He made a presentation and then guys asked questions. He took over the room and it was remarkably good. It was emotional for some of our players. He got an ovation.”
After Rodriguez’s presentation, he received a signed Cowboys’ helmet from quarterback Tony Romo and outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware. He also sat in on some meetings.
Garrett said Rodriguez, at 6-foot-5, related well to football players because of his size.
“You didn’t have to say, ‘Quiet down’ very much,” Garrett said. “It was a great learning experience for everyone.”
In terms of bringing in guest speakers, Garrett said he is very selective.
“You’ve got to pick your spots on it,” Garrett said. “If you do too many of them, they start losing the message. But if you have an ongoing theme with your team and have a guest speaker than can support it, that can be really effective.”
From all indications, Rodriguez nailed the message Garrett asked him to deliver.
_ Jimmy Burch