- Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- These are conversations Brandon Carr wishes weren't one sided, but he finds himself having them during the course of every day.
He will say hello to Kasandra Perkins, remembering her smiling face.
He will say hello to Jovan Belcher, his former Kansas City teammate, who shot and killed Perkins and then himself three weeks ago.
And he will say hello to Jerry Brown, his teammate with the Cowboys for only a few weeks before Brown died in a car accident.
With overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers about to begin Sunday at Cowboys Stadium, Carr talked to Brown again.
"I'm going to make a play for you," Carr said, looking at Brown's No. 53 jersey as he made his way onto the field.
Oh, did Carr make a play. Maybe the biggest play of a Cowboys' season that might not end as soon as many people had thought.
On the second play of overtime, Carr intercepted Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and returned the ball to the Steelers' 1. Two plays later, Dan Bailey made a 21-yard field goal for the Cowboys' 27-24 win that put them in a tie for first place in the NFC East with two games to play.
As Carr made his way back to the bench after his interception, he placed the ball next to Brown's jersey.
"Crazy, huh?" Carr said.
The emotions Carr has carried these past three weeks are more than many could bear.
He was Belcher's teammate and friends with Perkins. He and his fiancée hung out with the couple. He was rocked by the murder-suicide, unable to sleep or eat for days.
On Dec. 8 he was in Austin, attending Perkins' funeral, when he learned of the death of Brown, who was a passenger in a car driven by another teammate, Josh Brent. Carr flew to Cincinnati on Jerry Jones' private plane after the ceremony to join his grieving teammates.
On Tuesday, he was at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship at a memorial service for Brown.
"I get more sleep and I eat a little better now, but I have my moments still where I sit there and think, 'Dang, why?'" Carr said. "You ask why or why that happened. But what's done is done. Going to the services, saying goodbye gave me closure and peace. A couple of days later, I had a sense that things were all right and all three of those people were taken care of and they're in good hands.
"That's all I needed and I was going to look at that as a sign from God. He put that in my heart and ever since then, I talk to them daily. But I just try to make the most of my day."
Last week, his interception in the second quarter helped invigorate a team that was about to go down by two scores. The Cowboys left Paul Brown Stadium with a game-winning field goal on the final snap from scrimmage.
In the locker room after the game, emotion oozed from Carr.
On Sunday, Carr was able to dive for Roethlisberger's sideline throw to Mike Wallace and come up with his team-high third interception. After rolling over, he sprinted down the sideline, dodging tacklers before lunging for the goal line, only to come up a yard short.
A touchdown perhaps would have been more fitting and made the script even better. While it was not meant to be, it was still pretty good.
"He's probably been through a lot of stuff in his life up to this point and even if he hasn't, the last three weeks have been crazy for him," defensive end Marcus Spears said. "It's a testament to his character, the way he approaches life, his faith, and he keeps going.
"It's real good for something good to happen for him. It helps us win, but I'm sure it helps him heal a little bit, too."
On second-and-3 from the Pittsburgh 27, Carr thought about his days as a Chief when Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Todd Haley was his head coach.
"I've been seeing those types of routes with Coach Haley for three years," Carr said. "It was nothing new to me. But I finally trusted myself and the ball was thrown inside and I laid out and made a play. It may look hard, but it's as simple as that. Just react and go get it."
It was a type of play Carr said he dreamed of in his backyard. It was the type of play the Cowboys envisioned Carr making when they signed him to a five-year, $50.1 million contract.
Back in March, Carr was wooed by the team inside Jones' suite as videos played on the center-hung digital board with some of the great moments in team history.
Carr had his Sunday.
"There's been so much going on that every day I get the chance to wake up, I'm going to make the best of my day," Carr said. "All those events took place, it's still crazy. But it does make you put things in perspective with life as a whole. It's not just a game of football.
"There's much more to life than football. I'm just trying to be my best as a father, fiancée, player, whatever.
"Just every day, you have to take advantage of it."
19hEric D. Williams