By Mike Fisher
(247 SPORTS) – “I cried the whole way home.”
An emotionally bare Michael Gallup met the Dallas media on Sunday following the suicide of his brother, Andrew. He may have been able to let his guard down because of all of the support the rookie wide receiver felt from his Cowboys family.
“That was by far the toughest thing I had to do was hear news like that,” Gallup said, reflecting on the news — delivered to him 12 days ago in the post-win locker room in Atlanta in his home state of Georgia – that his brother had taken his own life. “You don’t know how to think. Just sit there and cry. I just cried. I got in the car with my sister and cried the whole way home.”
Gallup remained in Georgia with his family to mourn and to plan a funeral that took place on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. In between, the Colorado State Rams star, who has become a starter for a Dallas team that has now won three straight to move to 6-5 and atop the NFC East, traveled aboard team owner Jerry Jones’ private plane to return to North Texas in time to practice last Wednesday and to participate in Thursday’s game against Washington — a 31-23 victory that was capped by an emotional post-game scene in the AT&T Stadium locker room in which coach Jason Garrett and teammates awarded Gallup with a game ball. Gallup played 36 of 70 snaps in that game, contributing two catches for 19 yards, before flying back to Georgia for the funeral … and then back to his football brothers in Texas.
“It was more of the fact that I need to be there for my team,” Gallup said of his decision to play. “They have always been there for me. I was there for my family. I sat down with my mom (Jenny, the mother of a large adoptive family) and I asked if I was good to come back and play. She said of course, ‘Go have fun.’ It was very important to me to make that game.”
In different ways, some other Cowboys can somewhat relate. Garrett’s father, Jim, passed away in February.
“It was a very challenging week for (Gallup) and his family and he handled it really, really well from the outset,” Garrett said. “Everybody recognized the situation we’re in and was inspired by the approach he’s taken. It was good to have him there and to have everyone around him trying to support him in this very difficult time. It was emotional.”
It’s been a week of tragedy and then of hopefully meaningful gestures for the Gallup family, which is memorializing the passing of Andrew Gallup with an educational scholarship fund. From the website:
Andrew Gallup went to be with the Lord, November 17, 2018. In loving memory of “Andy,” the Gallup family set up an African Children’s Scholarship Fund to honor his love of learning.
Andy was born November 10, 1995 in the Republic of Sierra Leone, West Africa. At that time, the country of Sierra Leone was in the midst of civil war, and Andy was one of many children left orphaned by sickness and war devastation. Five years later, Andy and his big brother, Raymond, were adopted into the Gallup family in January 2000. They grew up in a happy home in Georgia with six other siblings.
Andy’s “thing,” as he liked to put it, was Academics. He had a passion for learning and was only two semesters away from his degree in Health Science.
Because so many children in Africa have little or no opportunity for education, the family knows Andy would be overjoyed that this Memorial Fund gives many a chance for a quality education and personal growth.