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Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr has moved well past The Catch

IRVING, Texas -- How many times have you seen The Catch? No, not The Catch where Dwight Clark makes the catch over Everson Walls in the 1981 NFC Championship Game. No, The Catch where Odell Beckham Jr.’s three-fingered grab stole all of the highlights last fall.

Immediately it was called the greatest catch ever. That’s what happens these days. Things have to be time-stamped as the best-ever immediately. There is no time to breathe and wonder about whether it actually was the greatest catch ever.

Is it even the best catch in New York Giants history? David Tyree pinned an Eli Manning pass to his helmet while getting dragged to the ground to help win a Super Bowl. Wasn’t that a better catch because of its importance?

But imagine you were the other guy in the photos and videos of the Beckham catch. Wherever you go, people think of you grabbing Beckham, falling to the ground as the ball sticks to the receiver’s fingers for a touchdown. Whenever you turn on the television, you never know when The Catch will be replayed.

You can understand the pain of Craig Ehlo and Bryon Russell, who every summer have to see Michael Jordan's game-winning jumpers over and over and over.

Welcome to Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr's world since Nov. 23, 2014 at MetLife Stadium.

“I’ve seen it a few times, enough to learn from it and continue to move on and play football,” Carr said.

Carr will go against Beckham for the first time since The Catch when the Cowboys open the season Sunday against the Giants at AT&T Stadium.

As much as that catch made Beckham’s rookie season, it could have ruined Carr’s.

“What do you do when you’re afraid of the dark?” Carr said. “Do you run from it, or just one day close the door, turn the lights off and go to sleep?”

On Tuesday, Carr did not want to dwell on Beckham’s catch but knew the questions would come.

“I learn from all my mistakes,” Carr said. “This league you have to quickly diagnose what happened on each and every play, whether it’s a good play or bad play. For the ones that are bad, you have to learn from it quickly, or they’ll keep attacking you in the same manner. For the good ones, you kind of have to brush it off and keep it rolling. But from that play, it was a great ball, great catch. Just for a defender’s sake, keep running and track the ball better.”

The play might have defined Carr’s season to others, but not himself. On the next series, he was back on the field. The next week he was there too. He was there the next seven weeks and played his best football of the season down the stretch

“Carr had a really good year last year, whether the stats show it or not,” defensive end Jeremy Mincey said. “He was a very important, critical role on our defense. I just like the way when some adversity strikes he always responds well. That’s the one thing I do really love about him.”

Carr did not have an interception last season for the first time in his career. With his $8 million base salary and $12.7 million cap figure, many assumed he would not be on the Cowboys roster in 2015 at those figures.

But here he is, four days away from facing Beckham at the starting left cornerback spot he has occupied since joining the Cowboys in 2012.

He will make his 113th straight start Sunday, the longest current streak in the NFL by a cornerback. Carr counts divine intervention as the biggest reason for his streak. He suffered a broken right hand in training camp but returned to play in a preseason game. His importance to the Cowboys’ defense grew greater when Orlando Scandrick was lost for the season due to a knee injury.

Cornerbacks need short memories. The Beckham catch has been replayed so much that it seems like it happened yesterday.

“I’ve always been hard-headed too so I mean it all goes hand in hand, so but short memory,” Carr said. “You have to learn from it, correct yourself and move on from it. You can’t make the same mistake twice.”

Beckham’s catch was great, if not the greatest ever. But Carr did something Ehlo and Russell didn’t do against Jordan.

The Cowboys, with Carr, won that game. Just in case people forgot.

“I just keep moving, man,” Carr said. “New year, new season. Ready to get it on.”