Barry Church picks up where left off

IRVING, Texas -- Last summer Barry Church was a revelation.

He was so good in the first week of training camp that the Cowboys said goodbye to veteran Brodney Pool without a hesitation. It did not help Pool that he failed the conditioning test, but Church was the reason the Cowboys did not give Pool a long second chance.

Three games into the season, however, Church suffered a torn Achilles and the Cowboys were left to play fill-ins the rest of the year.

“Words couldn’t even describe it,” Church said. “I took three years just to get the starting job and then after three weeks it was gone like that. It was a very hard time for me, but I had a lot of family members and teammates have my back, so the recovery process was faster than I thought it would be.”

Church was cleared for full offseason activities last week but he was taking part in the same workouts as his other teammates anyway.

How much do the Cowboys believe in him? They waited until the fourth round to add a safety in J.J. Wilcox, though they had serious interest in Kenny Vaccaro, who was drafted by New Orleans two spots before the Cowboys picked. In free agency, they added veteran Will Allen, but he is here more for Matt Johnson’s development than Church’s.

“I definitely feel like the job’s mine to lose and I don’t plan on losing it,” Church said.