OXNARD, Calif. (AP) Brandon Carr knows the pain of losing his mother will never go away completely.
Football is the veteran Dallas cornerback's escape, and he was back on the field with the Cowboys on Saturday after missing the first two weeks of training camp to be with his mother in the final days of her long battle with breast cancer.
''This is my safe haven, out on this field,'' Carr said. ''When I get out here there isn't many distractions. I am in my comfort zone. It feels good to finally get back out on the field with these guys and get back to my routine.''
Carr missed the first 11 workouts and the preseason opener at San Diego on Thursday, a day after the funeral for 59-year-old Kathy Robinson Carr. She died July 30 in Carr's hometown of Flint, Michigan. The service was a week later, and Carr was in California two days after that.
''That is what my mom always preached to me,'' he said. ''In the midst of adversity or anything going bad, make sure you stay taking care of your business and keep yourself ready to go. I have to fall back on that.''
Carr said his teammates kept his spirits up with daily text messages, asking how he was doing, providing advice or cracking a joke.
''It's great to have him back,'' coach Jason Garrett said. ''He's been going through a very difficult time with his mom for a long time, and the last couple of weeks particularly have been really challenging.''
The Cowboys had to sign two defensive backs just to have enough players back there to get through the 27-7 loss to the Chargers. They've been depleted by the absence of Carr and injuries to several other cornerbacks, including former top-10 pick Morris Claiborne.
Carr has started every game in the first six years of his career, and he figures to be out there in the opener Sept. 7 against San Francisco. But Dallas won't be rushing him back.
''I have been training, but it's not the same intensity as being out here in training camp with these guys every single day,'' said Carr, in his third season with the Cowboys after signing as a free agent. ''So we are going to play it smart, but at the same time get some quality reps in and push myself a little bit so I can be ready to go.''
The Dallas secondary had to deal with a similar issue a year ago in camp when rookie J.J. Wilcox went home to be with his mother just days before she died.
''It was emotionally draining,'' Carr said, pausing to compose himself. ''You don't really know the situation until you are in it. But you know it takes a toll on that person and the people around. But at the same time, you have to stay strong and keep the faith and continue to just be positive and move forward.''
For Carr, that means playing football.
NOTES: The Cowboys waived rookie running back Ben Malena after he strained his quadriceps against San Diego. He will go on injured reserve if he clears waivers. ... Dallas waived rookie punter Cody Mandell and signed rookie free agent RB D.J. Adams of Portland State.
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