ARLINGTON, TX – Michael Gallup was surrounded by his colleagues from Covbois, holding the ball in a dressing room in Dallas on Thursday night after a 31-23 win over Washington Redskins.
Chief trainer Jason Garrett gave the journalist a stone, and Galup thanked his colleagues who supported him within four days of finding out that his brother Andrew died suicide.
The players listened after Gallup explained that he was happy.
"We were lucky to win, and he did it for his brother," said Covbois cornerback Chidobe Avuzie. "His brother watched us.
"It's definitely what football is playing: playing for others, there are reasons for playing. We had the reason why we played."
Gallup stayed in Atlanta after Dallas' won Sunday near his home town for family resentment. He returned on Wednesday, caught two balls at 12 meters on Thursday and is now returning to Georgia at Andrew's Funeral on Friday.
The constituents prayed for the Gallup family, sending texts and messages with a support message. Owner Jerri Jones offered his private plane to transport Gallup back and forth.
Dak Prescott's quartet, who lost his mother on cancer five years ago while in the state of Mississippi, gave the receiver a gentle message.
"I told him that nobody can tell him how he feels and nobody can tell him what to do," Preskot said. "Do what you think is right, do what your heart says to do. It's so simple.
"You're not trying to compare one tragedy with another, not in that case, but through it and through it, I felt it's important to tell him that I feel what you think is right."
On Thursday, Gallup felt that he was right to rejoin his colleagues for the split on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys gave him a decision, respecting what he considered best for his family and regret. But Gallup was pleased to be surrounded by teammates. His team-mates were amazed by the energy, passion and tranquility of the 22-year-old who described them as "warriors" ahead of the tragedy.
Gallup did not speak to the media, but he tweeted "Thank you" with his fingers and photo.
"If you have been in football for some time, start to understand throughout your life, this is your place," said DeMarcus Lavrence. "This is how you go through life.
"We just wanted to make sure that he knew that we were with him and his family, because he has no reason to worry, we have returned him until the end of this storm."
Sunday after Dallas finished Atlanta 22-19 with the last goal in the field, Jones told reporters that the victorious dressing room was dark from learning the tragedy with the family of players.
Thursday, Jones opened his postgame remarks saying he was "certainly proud" at Covbois.
"And you would have been, if you saw what they did with Michael Gallup there (dressing room)," adds Jones. "When you are young, death is really difficult to live.
"This team has gathered around him in a great way … About what's true, touching the moment I was part of."
Follow Jori Epstein on Twitter @ JoriEpstein.