Jason Garrett leaned on players

IRVING, Texas -- When the Cowboys arrived in Cincinnati on Saturday night, coach Jason Garrett met with his captains Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten to discuss how the team would proceed after learning of the death of teammate Jerry Brown.

“I talked to our players about, ‘Hey, guys, what do you want to do Saturday night? Do you want to have a team meeting? Do you want to have offensive and defensive meetings? Is that the right thing to do? Is that the wrong thing to do? Does routine helps us? Does it hurt us? Just tell me what you think. I’m not going to stand here and say, This is the way you handle it. I can’t say that I know the way to handle it,’” Garrett said. “But I know collectively when we talked about it and worked our way through it, I think everybody was together on how we’re going to handle it.”

The Cowboys kept the Saturday routine as normal as possible with the exception of a 25-minute special teams meeting. Offensive and defensive meetings were shortened.

“Afterwards we had a snack in the dining room, encouraged everybody to go in there and hang out with each other,” Garrett said. “Some guys chose not to. A lot of guys did and kind of hung out and were together. Another thing I said at the outset of the meeting was if anybody wants to leave this meeting, leave the next meeting, you don’t feel up to hear all this stuff, leave. Do whatever you need to do. I'm not telling you how to handle anything. I’m just saying we are here for each other. If you feel like you don’t want to be a part of this, if you want to walk out of the room and take a moment for yourself, you do that. There were no restrictions. There wasn't a lot of structure. We just tried to handle it the best we could all together.”

Team chaplain Jonathan Evans ran chapel, “and did a great job, trying to provide some perspective on what the situation was,” Garrett said. “There were probably more players there than there normally would have been.”