Gavin Escobar, Former Dallas Cowboys Tight End, Dead at 31

Gavin Escobar, a former NFL tight end who played four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, died on Wednesday, the team announced. He was 31 years old. Escobar was among two people found dead in a rock-climbing accident near Idyllwild, California. The other victim was identified as 33-year-old Chelsea Walsh. According to ESPN, firefighters found them dead near Tahquitz Rock in the San Bernardino National Forest. Officials said that Escobar and Walsh died while climbing a "rock face." 

"Obviously very sad, tragic," Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said, per the team's official website. "All the individuals that worked with Gavin, he's obviously heavy on everybody's heart today. I personally did not know him, but just sitting down there talking with (associate athletic trainer/director of rehabilitation) Britt (Brown) and (head athletic trainer) Jim (Maurer) and the guys that knew him, talking about his experience and what type of guy he was, and frankly the fact that he was a fireman, that definitely touches my heart also. Young children left behind. Obviously, it's very sad to see that tragedy."  

Escobar was selected by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. His best season was in 2014 when he caught nine passes for 105 yards and four touchdowns in 16 games. In his four seasons in Dallas, Escobar caught 30 passes for 333 yards and eight touchdowns in 62 games. In 2017, Escobar signed a one-year contract with the Kansas City Chiefs but was cut from the team before the season began. In October 2017, Escobar signed with the Baltimore Ravens but was cut nearly a month later. He also spent time with the Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins but never played in a game for the two teams. In 2019, Escobar signed with the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American football and caught 14 passes for 142 yards before the league ceased operations two months into its inaugural season. 

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Since February, Escobar was working as a firefighter in Long Beach, California. "It is with deep sadness that we announce the off-duty death of Long Beach Firefighter Gavin Escobar," the Long Beach Fire Department said in a statement. "Hired on February 5, 2022, Firefighter Escobar was assigned to Fire Station 3 on B-shift. Prior to being a Long Beach Firefighter, Gavin Escobar played professional football for the [NFL] where he spent most of his time with the [Dallas Cowboys]. Firefighter Escobar leaves behind his wife and two young children."