Brandon Carr: I Worked Out In a Church Parking Lot | 5:07 | Dallas Cowboys CB Brandon Carr returned to training camp after the passing of his mother last week. He talked about those difficult times and the support he received from his teammates. (Watch | Listen)
OXNARD, CA – For a couple of weeks while his teammates were out in California grinding through training camp, Brandon Carr was in the middle of his own grind.
Trying to be the rock of his family that was losing their mother, Carr was in Flint, Michigan tending to his mother, who passed away of cancer on July 31. With the funeral taking place last Tuesday, coupled with the Dallas Cowboys game in San Diego, Carr didn’t reunite with his teammates here in Oxnard until Friday night, followed by a walk-through Saturday morning.
But don’t think it was Carr’s first physical activity in the last few weeks. The veteran cornerback found some time and locations during his Michigan stay to keep his body somewhat in football shape.
“Wherever … Next door at the church parking lot or the church yard or I’d go to my high school or I’d go to another high school and mess up their turf,” Carr said. “Just wherever I could get a couple free hours of being away from the house. My brother did a great job of just kind of training me and helping me, push me along the way.”
While Carr was obviously wanting to be with his teammates at camp, he knew he was at the spot he needed to be.
“At the end of the day, you only get one mother,” Carr said. “This time, I had to be home. We had a wonderful week together and did a lot of great things, and I can smile about it.”
Carr also said he’s hopeful he can take some of this emotional experience and apply to the field this season.
“It’s been extremely tough, man,” Carr said. “Somebody that you’ve known your whole life that’s raised you, that’s made you a product of their environment. To see them fight the way they fought in the end and still be selfless, I’ve learned a lot from the situation about myself and just about life. Hopefully, I can use some of those things I’ve learned throughout the season this year.”
Head coach Jason Garrett has reiterated several times the Dallas Cowboys will give Carr or any other player all the time needed to deal with family matters. Obviously, he was excited to have one of his defensive leaders back on the field.
“It’s great to have him back. The last couple of weeks have been really challenging for him,” Garrett said Saturday. “It was the right thing for him to be there and to be with his family during this tough time. Now, somehow someway he’s got to get his mind rind and back to football the best he can. We’ll see how he is on the practice field and get him ready to go as fast as we can.”
The Cowboys certainly need Carr and any other healthy cornerback on the field. Along with his absence, the defense has been without injured corners Morris Claiborne (knee), Sterling Moore (groin) and Tyler Patmon (hip). Rookie DaShaun Phillips was injured as well and cut, forcing the Cowboys to sign Korey Lindsey, who had to play Thursday night without a single practice.
The Cowboys have unfortunately dealt with two other similar situations in the past year. Safety J.J. Wilcox had to leave camp last year as a rookie when his mother passed away. In December, Claiborne lost his father as well.
During Saturday morning’s walk-through, both Carr and Claiborne were back on the practice and rotating with Orlando Scandrick for first-team reps.
“We welcomed him back with open arms. That’s my guy. I love Brandon — and having him back, having him around, it takes a lot off us all,” Claiborne said. “Having his spirit around lifts us up. It’s one of those things where you don’t want to always bring it up. Like today, I wanted to ask him ‘How are you doing – like literally, how are you?’ He’s taking it like he should and things happen. You have to handle them a certain way, and he’s been handling it great.”
Carr said he was more than appreciative of the support he’s received from the Dallas Cowboys.
“Once again, they’ve done a great job of making me feel comfortable and letting me know they have my support and my back even though I was absent,” Carr said. “They sent flowers, food – they took care of myself and my family. It’s just a great big thank you to the organization. I got a lot of texts from guys who have been through similar situations. They were great for me. I’m just happy to get here and get ready to work with them.”
RELATED: Rookie OG Brian Clarke cut; replaced with AFL veteran OG Wayne Tribue
OXNARD, CA – Avoiding injuries is a huge task for all players at training camp, but especially the ones at the bottom of the roster fighting for a spot. Unfortunately for those guys, injuries can mean the end of the line, even before the first preseason game.
That was the case for guard Brian Clarke, a rookie free agent from Bloomsburg. Clarke’s groin injury forced the Dallas Cowboys to place him on the waive/injured list. That roster spot opened the door for the club to add guard Wayne Tribue, who worked out with the club August 3rd and officially signed his deal on the 4th.
Tribue was an undrafted free agent from Temple in 2012 and signed with the Broncos and spent just a week on the practice squad. He then joined the Saints and 49ers over the last year and was recently with the Philadelphia Soul of the Arena Football League.
Tribue has an uphill battle to make the team at a guard position that features first-round pick Zack Martin, along with Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ronald Leary on the left side. Veteran Uche Nwaneri has received some reps along with rookie Andre Cureton (waived, see below).
RELATED: Team adds Stephen Goodin, Tom Hornsey; releases Andre Cureton and Cody Mandell
OXNARD, CA – The Dallas Cowboys switched out a guard and a punter.
They added guard Stephen Goodin and waived guard Andre Cureton. They also added punter Tom Hornsey with the roster spot opened up by punter Cody Mandell’s release.
Hornsey won the 2013 Ray Guy Award for the best college football punter while playing for Memphis. The Australian isn’t the typical size for a punter at 6-3, 220 pounds and was a former Australian Rules Football player.
He went undrafted this year and spent time in rookie minicamp with the Jets. Hornsey led the nation with 95 punts in 2011 and averaged at least 42 yards per kick all four seasons at Memphis. He also had a long of at least 63 yards each of those four seasons.
Hornsey’s best year came this past season, as he averaged 45.2 yards per punt with a long of 79 yards. Given his size and athleticism, he was also a threat to fake and run. He ran the ball once each of his past three seasons and got at least 14 yards each time.
Punter Chris Jones is still the front runner for the job.
Goodin has spent the majority of his career on the New York Giants practice squad, suiting up for one game with the team in 2013. The 6-6, 310-pound guard is a 25-year-old out of Nebraska-Kearney.
RELATED: New Dallas Cowboys DB’s to debut against San Diego without practice
OXNARD, CA – Cornerback Morris Claiborne didn’t play in last Thursday’s game against San Diego, as he continues to work his way back from tendonitis in his knee.
“… I’ll be doing the routine they have me doing on the field,” said Claiborne following the Cowboys morning walkthrough. “I’ll be doing some drills on the field, so I won’t be practicing.”
Claiborne is one of several hampered corners at a position that hasn’t been at 100 percent capacity since the start of camp. Brandon Carr has been absent since the Cowboys arrived in California, as he copes with the death of his mother. Claiborne hurt his knee last week, and that was quickly followed by injuries to Sterling Moore and Dashaun Phillips.
To offset those losses, the Dallas Cowboys brought in several new faces at the position. The team signed two new defensive backs – Korey Lindsey and Johnny Thomas.
Lindsey was a seventh-round draft pick out of Southern Illinois in 2011, and he has spent time with six NFL teams in the past three years. Thomas, a safety, played for Oklahoma State, where he was ruled ineligible for the 2011 season. He went undrafted in 2012.
Claiborne said he’ll continue to work on rehabbing his knee.
“I’m getting back – we’re just kind of managing it,” he said. “It is what it is. I’ll be doing the same thing I’ve been doing every day and just rehabbing.”
Claiborne said his hope going forward is to be ready to practice when the Dallas Cowboys return from San Diego, and to be ready to play for the second preseason game on Aug. 16 against Baltimore.
Coping with his third injury stint in as many training camps, Claiborne insisted he isn’t frustrated with the situation.
“I’m at a good place right now, I’m good. I’m not stressed out over anything,” he said. “I know this is like the third year that I’m missing time, but I’m in a better place right now than I was those last two years.”
RELATED: Club expected to sign rookie RB D.J. Adams; release Ben Malena
OXNARD, CA – The Dallas Cowboys are expected to sign rookie running back D.J. Adams, following an injury to Ben Malena against the San Diego Chargers.
Malena suffered a quad strain during a kick return in San Diego and has needed crutches in the days since. The Dallas Cowboys will likely waive/injure him to make room for Adams on the roster.
Coincidentally enough, Adams last team before this was the Chargers, who just beat the Cowboys in each team’s preseason debut. Adams played two seasons for Maryland, where he rushed for 239 yards and 11 touchdowns as a freshman.
He transferred to Portland State for his junior season, and he tallied 967 yards and 11 touchdowns on just 164 carries – an average of 5.8 yards per carry. He assumed the starting spot in 2013, and he tallied a fantastic 1,600 yards and 19 touchdowns in 12 games.
The Chargers released him during their June minicamp in order to make room for a defensive signing.
Malena seemed like a longshot to make the roster, given the wealth of running backs above him on the depth chart, but the Cowboys were impressed with what he was able to show in his touches. If Adams can stick, he’ll be one of the guys the team looks to toward the tail end of the preseason.