Cowboys' Michael Gallup has huge game on anniversary of brother's death

DETROIT -- When Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Gallup woke up Sunday morning, he said he spoke to his brother, Andrew.

"I was like, Andy, we here, baby. Got to go play some ball,'" Gallup recalled while walking up the tunnel inside Ford Field to the team buses after Dallas' 35-27 win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday. "I told him, 'We're going to play the game for you, make sure we have a game.'

"That's what I did, so it was a good day."

Gallup would give anything to have that conversation in person, but a year ago, Andrew died by suicide. Gallup found out about his death after the Cowboys' win against the Atlanta Falcons, which was supposed to have been a homecoming of sorts for the Georgia native, when his sister informed him in a side room inside the locker room.

On Sunday, with his brother with him in spirit, Gallup caught a career-high nine passes for 148 yards. The yardage was the second highest in a game for his career, and it marked the third time he went for more than 100 yards in a game this season.

"I mean, obviously going to be a hard day. Really just a hard two weeks because his birthday was Nov. 10, so I'm always going to be thinking about him," Gallup said. "I mean, it was a good day. You know?"

Gallup earned the respect of his teammates for how he handled such a tragic situation last year.

After the win against Atlanta, he remained in Georgia with his family but returned to play in the Thanksgiving Day win four days later against the Washington Redskins, catching two passes for 19 yards and earning a game ball from coach Jason Garrett.

The next day, he was back in Georgia for his brother's funeral.

On Sunday, Gallup became quarterback Dak Prescott's favored target because the Lions were giving Amari Cooper, the Cowboys' leading receiver, extra attention.

"Proud of him, proud of him," Prescott said of Gallup. "I know his brother is proud of him. That's what you do. When you're a player like that, being able to go out there on that field and be at peace, it allows you to be who you are. That's what Michael Gallup did tonight. Just showed the type of player he is in the midst of the anniversary. I'm proud of him."

Gallup had six catches for 113 yards in the first half, including a 41-yarder that he essentially tipped to himself as he was going to the ground.

"I know he was right there with me when I bobbled that deep ball," Gallup said. "I know he was right there with me."

It is an anniversary he would like to forget, but Sunday was a game that he and many will remember.

"Just amazing," Garrett said. "He was so strong throughout that whole process. I can't even imagine what he was going through, and he was incredible. He was so mature in how he processed that whole situation, and there's no question he demonstrated strength, he demonstrated grace. ... I think it says a lot about the kind of person he is, the kind of character he has -- and so far beyond being a damn good football player. Really a special young man."