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September 09, 2013

Barry Church shows how far he has come by winning team player of the week honors

Barry Church carried red boxing gloves with him as he hurriedly left Valley Ranch after team meetings Monday. Inscribed in black Sharpie on the gloves was his name, Sunday’s date and the opponent.

The Cowboys awarded Louisville sluggers and hard hats to the outstanding player after victories in recent seasons. This year, boxing gloves represent the desire to “keep fighting.”

Church had eight tackles, second only to Bruce Carter’s nine. He also forced a fumble and recovered a fumble, returning it 27 yards for a touchdown, in the Cowboys’ season-opening, 36-31 victory over the Giants. Dallas forced five turnovers on defense, getting another touchdown on a game-clinching, 49-yard interception return from Brandon Carr.

The Cowboys also forced a turnover on special teams, giving them six takeaways after having only 16 all of last season.

"That is a pretty amazing start, but just like coach [Rod] Marinelli would say all the time, ‘Once the turnovers start, they’re going to keep rolling,’" Church said. "Hopefully, we can build on this and continue next week."

 Church started for only the fifth time in his career. He won the strong safety job in camp last year and even had a fumble recovery against the Giants in the 2012 opener. But he tore his Achilles’ tendon in Week 3 against Tampa Bay and went on injured reserve.

He started as the free safety Sunday in the team's new Tampa 2 scheme.

"It felt great just to get back out there and produce the way I produced," Church said. "It felt great to be out there with my teammates and doing what we do best and creating turnovers. It felt great."

-- Charean Williams

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