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July 26, 2013

Cowboys not surprised to see Barry Church pop now that the pads have come on

Now that the Cowboys have started practicing in pads, Jason Garrett is not surprised that a few more players are emerging.

Or that Barry Church is one of them.

The fourth-year safety, sidelined almost all of last year by an Achilles tear, is one of the top hitters from the first week of training camp. Despite the layoff, Garrett said it’s like he was never gone.

“Certain guys show up when you’re talking about the physical nature of the game,” Garrett said in his daily press conference Friday. “You heard me say this the other day, but those first couple days of practice and those 12 practices we did in the spring, that’s really not football. Football is when you put the helmet and shoulder pads on, the full gear, and you start playing 11-on-11, physical, tackling-type stuff. Certain guys show up in those environments better than others, and Barry is one of those guys.”

The Cowboys are putting their faith in Church. The former undrafted free agent out of Toledo is set as one of the starters at safety, despite breaking out only last year and having started only four games.

But Church’s physicalness and personal characteristics give Garrett confidence.

“The thing that’s been really impressive about him, really since I met him, is just the spirit that he plays with,” Garrett said. “He’s got such an upbeat personality as a person, and it reflects in how he plays the game. He had a hard injury last year. He tore his Achilles tendon. It was a great opportunity for him, he was playing well early in the season, and he comes back and didn’t skip a beat. He looks really good, was a full participant in our offseason program, and he’s off to a great start in camp.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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