J.J. Wilcox Defends Title in Cowboys HR Derby

Safety J.J. Wilcox became the first Cowboy to be a back-to-back derby champion since the contest's inception in 2012.

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys teamed up with NRG Energy to go yard for the Salvation Army of Dallas on Tuesday at Dr. Pepper Ballpark. In the fifth edition of the May classic, the Cowboys raised $50,000 as Wilcox defended his crown.


"I'm going to try to [repeat]," Wilcox said after the first round. "It's kind of hard when everybody's on you and you have high expectations for you. So, you just have to be comfortable and find your groove and hope things go your way."


Wilcox's fair balls racked up a total of $11,300 for the Salvation Army and gave the defense a total of $32,200 to the offense's $15,500.


"J.J. Wilcox was fantastic, wasn't he?" said head coach Jason Garrett, who was paired with the defense incidentally. "He was really good."


The way the numbers shook out between the two teams meant there were five offensive batters -- left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick, right guard Zack Martin, receiver Terrance Williams, tight end Jason Witten -- and just four defensive sluggers -- cornerbacks Morris Claiborne, Brandon Carr, defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford, and Wilcox. Coach Garrett took sides with the defense to even up the rosters, though the output made the defensive side seem pretty stacked. The second-best hitter was Garrett with $7,000 and Carr had fourth-most with $6,000. Compare that to Witten who led the offense with $6,200.


Said Garrett: "I was going to be, just to balance it out: five offense, four defense. So, I'd go with the defense. But I did see J.J. strike the ball well here last year. It was an interesting decision."




"Giving back to the community is important in terms of who we are," said Bill Clayton, Executive Director of NRG Retail Foundation. "We feel there is a direct correlation between your capacity to give and your capacity to really win. And being out here with the Cowboys and the Rough Riders, it really makes a statement that we stand collectively for our future and the future of our kids. And really when you look at the smiles on the kids' faces over there, that really sums up in terms of what we do."


When the Cowboys rookies such as fourth overall pick Ezekiel Elliott weren't on the field shagging balls, they were sitting in the stands with youth spectators from the Salvation Army.



"Reliant does a great job of putting this on every year and this benefit for the Salvation Army," Frederick said. "I think it's a great event for us to be able to come out here and show up for the kids and hopefully raise some great money."


Technically, the Cowboys raised only $47,700 for the Salvation Army, but NRG donated an additional $2,300 to the cause to round up the numbers to an even $50,000, the exact same figure the Cowboys delivered to the Salvation Army in 2015 and 2014 home run derbies.




Champion Wilcox had the advantage of playing baseball competitively at Cairo High School in Georgia as did some of the other participants. For Williams, it has only been at the team home run derbies that he has ever swung a bat in his life.


"This is my second year doing it," said Williams. "I never played baseball before. This is actually my second time I ever swung a bat. This was something that was good for the kids so I kind of felt like me doing this was a good thing, so I came out here."




For the Cowboys, the fun times are drawing to a close as OTA's begin this week. Before their focus turned to correcting a 4-12 mark and last place in the NFC East, they were able to give back to the community, even if it was in a sport not all of them were familiar playing.


"It's a challenging game. You have to keep those hands back to hit fly balls," Garrett said.








J.J. Wilcox -- $11,300

Jason Garrett -- $7,000

Jason Witten -- $6,200

Brandon Carr -- $6,000

Tyrone Crawford -- $4,800

Travis Frederick -- $3,400

Morris Claiborne -- $3,100

Tyron Smith -- $2,300

Zack Martin -- $2,100

Terrance Williams -- $1,500

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