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Wilcox returns after mother's death

IRVING, Texas -- Rookie safety J.J. Wilcox returned to the Cowboys' practice fields Wednesday after being away for 10 days because of the death of his mother, Marshell. She passed away on Aug. 13 after a long battle with lupus. She was 49.

"It's tough when you get accustomed to somebody for 33 years with my dad and 22 years with me and they are all of sudden gone. It's tough," Wilcox said. "It's still fighting me to this day. I felt it a little at practice. But I'm going to be strong, be blessed and I'm going to keep pushing."

Wilcox didn't tell any of his teammates or coaches that his mom was ill until he got a phone call the day after the second preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on Aug. 9. Wilcox was told by family members to return to Cairo, Ga., when his mother took a turn for the worse.

Several players texted and called. Fellow rookie B.W. Webb wore Wilcox's jersey during a walkthrough practice before the Arizona Cardinals game last week as a sign of support.

"It made a difference," Wilcox said. "When I saw that, it definitely brought tears to my eyes. It let me know that the guys still love me and they're still backing me 110 percent when I'm not here. So that makes a difference."

It's uncertain if the third-round pick will play in Saturday's fourth preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday at AT&T Stadium, but Wilcox said he was happy to get back to playing football after taking care of his family.

"It's a relief," Wilcox said. "Especially in the hard times that I had back home for the last week or so. So it was just good to get back and have fun again."