Five days after his brother's death, Cowboys' Michael Gallup gets game ball

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The biggest star at wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys in their 31-23 win against the Washington Redskins was Amari Cooper, who had eight catches for 180 yards and touchdowns of 40 and 90 yards, but he did not get the game ball.

The game ball went to rookie wide receiver Michael Gallup, who had two catches for 19 yards just five days after learning of the death of his brother, Andrew.

"To go through the tragedy that he did a couple of days ago and be able to turn around and get back here and get ready and come back in time to prepare and get ready for this game, it just shows the character of him," quarterback Dak Prescott said. "It shows the man he is. He battles adversity. I'm just so proud of him and proud of the way he handled this. I don't wish this on anybody, obviously. He is playing for his brother. He is living for his brother. That's what's most important."

Gallup was informed of his brother's death by his sister moments after the Cowboys' 22-19 win against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. He grew up in Monroe, Georgia, about 45 minutes from Atlanta, so the game was something of a homecoming. Gallup remained with his family until Tuesday before returning to Texas on Jerry Jones' private plane.

He will return to Georgia on Friday on Jones' plane for the funeral.

"He really wanted and took comfort being with his teammates, and his teammates wanted that," Jones said. "He's just such a young person, and this way he gets to be really with his team family here and his family [on Friday]."

Gallup is one of eight siblings, and six are adopted, like he is. Gallup was 10 months old when he was adopted. He has three siblings from West Africa and two from India.

"He was happy that we got the win," cornerback Chidobe Awuzie said. "He said he did it for his brother, his brother was watching over us. It sounds good. That's definitely what football is about: playing for others, having a reason to play. And we had a reason this game."