Brandon Carr returns to 'safe haven'

August, 9, 2014
Aug 9
5:15
PM ET
OXNARD, Calif. -- The pause was long as Brandon Carr recalled the emotions of the past three weeks.

Carr
Carr’s mother, Kathy, passed away on July 30 after a fight with cancer that she had won one time before. She was 59.

The week before Dallas Cowboys training camp started Carr was in London, promoting the team’s visit in November to play the Jacksonville Jaguars. With his team in Oxnard, California, Carr was in Flint, Michigan, with his family.

“Extremely tough, man,” Carr said. “It’s somebody that you’ve known your whole life that has raised you, has made you a product of their environment, to see them fight the way they fought in the end and still be selfless, I 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.”

Carr arrived at camp on Friday afternoon. He will be eased into practices and there is a good chance he will not play Aug. 16 against the Baltimore Ravens.

“I’ve been training but it’s not the same intensity of being out here in training camp with these guys every single day,” Carr said. “We’re going to play it smart, but at the same time get some quality reps in and push myself a little bit to get myself ready to go.”

Carr worked out wherever he could with his brother, Anthony.

“Next door in the church parking lot, my high school or another high school, wherever I could get a couple of free hours of being away from the house,” Carr said. “My brother did a great job of just training and helping me and pushing me along the way.”

Carr said he “had a wonderful week together, did a lot of great things. I can smile about it.” At times his family shielded him from his mother’s condition, but this time was different.

“I had to be home,” Carr said.

The Cowboys offered their support with flowers and food. They did not pressure him to return, treating him the same they did J.J. Wilcox and Morris Claiborne last year when they lost their parents.

Claiborne and Wilcox were two of Carr’s confidantes because they went through the same thing last year, but a lot of teammates and coaches reached out to him in the process.

“A lot of texts from guys,” Carr said. “Guys that have been through similar situations, those are the guys I kind of leaned on to help me get through this new process. But guys pretty much every day, a teammate text me asking how I’m doing or just crack a joke whatever the case may be or whatever was needed for the day.”

Coach Jason Garrett said it was great to have Carr back with the team.

“Any time anyone has lost a loved one in their life, they understand what he’s been going through, particularly someone who he is as close to as his mom,” Garrett said. “So it was the right thing for him to be there and to be with his family during this tough time and now somehow, some way he has to get his mind right to be able to come back and be a player for our football team, and he’ll be able to do that.”

The fight his mother showed inspired Carr. It will drive him during the season, especially early in training camp.

“This is my safe haven out here on the field,” Carr said. “When I get out here, there aren’t as many distractions. I’m in my comfort zone. It’s so good to finally get back on the field with these guys and get back to a normal routine. I’m looking forward to this evening practice to kind of mix it up a little bit, get my feet wet. But, you know, I’m going to take it one day at a time to get myself prepared for a game.”

Todd Archer

ESPN Dallas Cowboys reporter

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