As OCC documented, the Dallas Cowboys conduct a conditioning test each year to see if the players are indeed in something close to football shape. Normally, that would mean this would be done the day after the players arrive in Oxnard and the day before the first real practice of camp. Until then, no one knows who is going to pass and who will need to do some remedial running or other conditioning or rehab.
That was just not good enough for Jason Witten. So he decided he wanted to know who was in shape and who wasn't - before the team got on the airplane to fly to Oxnard this coming Tuesday. According to Brandon Weeden, what the Senator wants, the Senator gets.
"[Jason] Witten thought it would be a great idea to do our conditioning tests in Dallas in 100-degree heat instead of doing that in Oxnard," Weeden said. "We give him all kinds of hell about that. So we run on Monday morning and the plane leaves for Oxnard on Tuesday. ... I'm going to head down to Dallas Sunday night and get started Monday morning."
As it turns out, the team may have gotten lucky. The past week was unseasonably cool in the Dallas area, and although the temperatures will start to climb by Monday, the morning temperature will be around 80, which is about five to ten degrees cooler than normal for Dallas in July. There are also some interesting things about this, because the conditioning run on Monday will not be a part of training camp, per the CBA. The teams cannot participate in anything official until Wednesday, which is fifteen days before the first preseason game. My reading of the CBA says that no coaches or other officials of the team can even be present for Witten's run. Of course, a conditioning run is also not mandated as part of the training camp, so the team may have just agreed to let the players conduct it themselves, although I am not sure how that would work.
Whether this is going to replace the official team conditioning test or is just a supplement for it, it says volumes about the influence of Witten with the team. The whole subject of leadership, or the supposed lack of it for the Cowboys, has been frequently discussed in the media. Because there is currently no one in Dallas who holds a mini-revival meeting in front of the cameras before the game, the perception is that there is no leadership on the team.
The Senator has never been a guy to jump up and down and make impassioned speeches. But to be able to basically make this kind of decision on your own is far more proof of how the team looks to him than some huddle-up hype on the field. While the article also does not make it clear as to just how much the coaching staff was involved in this move, if at all, it is clear that Witten is getting exactly what he has asked for. Whether he sold the coaches or just the player on this doesn't matter. He decided what needed to be done and made it happen.
I don't know how you define leadership, but that pretty much covers it for me.
(Hat tip to BeWARE94 for the title, which I stole from his comment after OCC pointed it out to me.)