Despite Dallas Cowboys‘ tight end Luke Schoonmaker not being able to participate in practice yet, he is still doing what he can to be prepared. Schoonmaker is currently on the active/non-football (NFI) injury list because of a partial tear to his plantar fascia — a foot injury can have a complicated recovery because of the location.
But this setback isn’t stopping Schoonmaker from setting himself up for success. In an exclusive interview with PFN, Schoonmaker says that in his free time away from the field, he has been studying the playbook and doing what he can to care for his body.
“That’s been a big emphasis of mine, especially dealing with what I’m dealing with, is making sure that I’m focusing on everything else so that when I can get back, it’s all up to speed,” said Schoonmaker.
Although there is still no timeline for a return, he says that recovery from the foot injury has been a great work in progress.
“I really love the speed that the training staff has been doing with me. I think it hasn’t been too quick, not too slow, and I feel good about it. I feel confident with where I’m at and where building,” said Schoonmaker.
Luke Schoonmaker’s Post-Draft Conversation With Jason Witten
Even before the injury, Schoonmaker’s prep to be great started right after he got drafted.
He says he started studying and doing his homework on the Cowboys and the great players who came before him. Naturally, he came across one name within his research: tight end Jason Witten, the Cowboys’ all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards, and decided to contact him for advice.
Schoonmaker says that Witten’s most significant advice was to trust himself and learn as much as possible, especially from those around him. Witten told Schoonmaker to look to the best leaders in the locker room, mentioning Dak Prescott and Zack Martin specifically, saying that it’s always helpful to look to guys that have been where he is now and have made names for themselves.
Another piece of advice Witten gave Schoonmaker is to “exhaust everything he can” outside of the practice field, like staying on top of studying the playbook and caring for his body and mental health.
“Trying to combine all of that and stay consistent on a daily basis is really what he stressed,” said Schoonmaker.
Schoonmaker mentioned that based on his research of Witten, he quickly found out how much of a family man he was outside of football. Something that the rookie tight end values and wants to uphold outside of football in his career.
“I think he’s a great example for me as somebody that really knew how to, of course, play the game so well, but life and the game, and it was pretty cool to get a response from him about that,” said Schoonmaker.
Despite growing up a “Gronk guy,” Schoonmaker says the entire conversation felt surreal because he always knew how good of a player Witten was, especially for the Cowboys’ organization.
“It was definitely special, and it meant a lot to me, so I’ll always look back on that, and I will probably reach out to him again soon,” said Schoonmaker.
Luke Schoonmaker’s Impression With Teammates and Coaches
Both coaches and teammates have talked about Schoonmaker’s work ethic at camp, despite the injury. Tight end Jake Ferguson even mentioned Schoonmaker’s eagerness for the game.
“You know he’s taking those mental reps; that’s what you gotta do at this point. So when he does get in there, he’s gonna be lights out,” said Ferguson.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer says Schoonmaker is on it and excited about what he will bring to the group — saying he will add even more “speed, athleticism, and power” to the four horsemen.
Also, giving credit to tight ends coach Lunda Wells for filling in the blanks where he can right now with the injury.
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