SAN ANTONIO – After 21 practices in 14 days at the Alamodome, the Dallas Cowboys broke camp Friday.
They are still far from done.
The two-week stint inside that climate-controlled environment was only the first segment of the NFL's longest full-squad training camp this summer. Their preseason opener is Sunday night in Canton, Ohio, the first of two games in five days. Then there is another two-week camp, that one outside in California.
"It breaks up the monotony of camp," linebacker Bradie James said. "It's better to break it up, go to a different camp, go to a different site than to be here for four weeks. I'm looking forward to that."
The Cowboys left San Antonio after a 75-minute walkthrough. They got one night at home before traveling for their preseason opener against Terrell Owens and the Cincinnati Bengals that will be part of the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend that includes Emmitt Smith.
"I'm going to enjoy going to Canton," quarterback Tony Romo said. "Obviously the game is going to be super enjoyable to get out there and play, but just going and looking at the history of the game, checking it out and seeing the Hall of Fame."
The Cowboys then get a few days at home with a light workload before going to camp in Oxnard, Calif. — where the Friday afternoon temperature in the mid-60s was about 40 degrees cooler than at the Cowboys' Valley Ranch practice facility.
Players will get a day off Monday before an open-to-the-public workout at Cowboys Stadium on Tuesday night and a light practice Wednesday. They play a preseason game against Oakland at home Thursday night before heading West.
"The break is unbelievable," owner Jerry Jones said. "You will have a lot of your starters that have a four- or five-day break. They don't get much time off in camp. They're basically going to be resting until we get to the Thursday game."
In Oxnard, the Cowboys are scheduled to practice 17 times in 12 days. There is a weekend with a preseason game at San Diego and then a day off in the middle of their West Coast stay.
"Going out to California and going outdoors from being indoors, the weather and stuff should be really good," Phillips said. "I think it will work out fine."
Eight trucks were loaded Friday with equipment such as weights, blocking dummies and practice gear that had been used at the Alamodome and has to moved to California. It will all be set up and ready when the players arrive on the West Coast.
"It's hard on (support personnel)," Phillips said. "But it works out that they have almost a week to move from here to California because we don't really have to have anything in Dallas."
In all, the Cowboys will travel more than 6,500 miles over a five-week stretch before getting home to stay after the fourth of their five preseason games, Aug. 28 at Houston.
Jones hopes all the travel is a good omen for the defending NFC East champions, who go into this season with Super Bowl expectations and knowing the championship game will be played in their stadium.
"Any time we had inordinate travel, like Tokyo or London, we've won the Super Bowl," Jones said, recalling the 1992 and 1993 championship seasons which began with preseason games overseas. "We get the same miles in coming back and forth between Canton and California."