Barry Church
refer to caption
Church with the Dallas Cowboys in 2015
Free agent
Position:Strong safety
Personal information
Born: (1988-02-11) February 11, 1988 (age 31)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High school:Penn Hills
(Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Career history
* Dallas Cowboys ( 2010 2016)
Career highlights and awards
* 4× All-MAC (2006–2009)
Career NFL statistics as of 2018
Total tackles:595
Pass deflections:26
Forced fumbles:8
Fumble recoveries:3
Defensive touchdowns:2
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

Barry Michael Church (born February 11, 1988) is an American football strong safety who is currently a free agent. He played college football at the University of Toledo and signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2010.

Early yearsEdit

Church attended Penn Hills High School, where he was a two-sport star in football and track. In football, he recorded 80 tackles, 9.0 sacks, and four interceptions while playing safety as a senior, that year he also played wide receiver, catching 30 passes for 670 yards and four touchdowns. He was named to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's "Terrific 25" team, second-team all-state Class AAAA, first-team Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League-East honors, and played in the Big 33 Football Classic.

Also an standout track & field athlete, Church was one of the state's top performers in the triple jump event, and captured the state title at the 2005 PTFCA Indoor State Championships with a leap of 14.32 meters (46 ft, 7 in).[1] He also recorded a 4.47-second 40-yard dash at the Metro Index camp.

College careerEdit

Church accepted a football scholarship from the University of Toledo, where he was a four-year starter at safety. As a freshman, he registered 76 tackles (second on the team) and 4 interceptions, including 2 returned for touchdowns (tied school record). He had 10 tackles against Iowa State University. He returned an interception 84 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown in a 37-31 win over the University of Kansas, that included 2 overtime periods. He was named second-team freshman All-American by The Sporting News.

As a sophomore, he posted 92 tackles (third on the team), 6 tackles for loss (second on the team), 3 interceptions (tied for the team lead) and 4 passes defensed. He had a career-high 19 tackles (3 for loss) against Iowa State University. He had 13 tackles and one interception against Western Michigan University.

As a junior, he collected 93 tackles (second on the team), 5.5 tackles for loss, 6 passed defensed (led the team), 3 forced fumbles (led the team) and on interception. He had 10 tackles (one for loss) and one forced fumble against Miami University. He made 10 tackles and one interception against Western Michigan University.

As a senior, he was second on the team with 98 tackles, including 8.5 tackles for loss, one interception, one forced fumble, 2 pass deflections and 3 blocked kicks. He had 14 tackles (3 for loss) against Ball State University. He blocked two field goals in the 20-19 win over Northern Illinois University, including the potential game-tying score with 37 seconds left. He was one of the semifinalists for the Jim Thorpe Award and also played in the East-West Shrine Game.

Church finished with 354 tackles, 26 tackles for loss, 9 interceptions, 18 pass breakups, 6 forced fumbles, and 3 blocked kicks. He was selected first-team All-MAC four straight years, becoming the first Toledo and the third Mid-American Conference player ever to achieve that distinction.

Professional careerEdit

30px External video
16px Barry Church's NFL Combine workout
Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
6 ft 1 in 222 lb 4.72 s 1.64 s 2.75 s 4.17 s 6.65 s 36 in 10 ft 1 in 19 rep

Dallas CowboysEdit

On April 25, 2010, the Dallas Cowboys signed Church to a three-year, $1.22 million contract that includes a $3,500 signing bonus after he went undrafted during the 2010 NFL Draft.[3][4]

2010 season: Rookie yearEdit

Throughout training camp, Church competed for a roster spot as a backup safety against Michael Hamlin, Patrick Watkins, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, and Danny McCray.[5][6] Head coach Wade Phillips named Church the backup strong safety, behind veteran Gerald Sensabaugh, to start the regular season.[7]

He made his professional regular season debut in the Dallas Cowboys' Week 2 matchup against the Chicago Bears after being inactive for their season-opener. Church finished the Cowboys' 27–20 loss with one assisted tackle. He made his first career tackle with teammate Danny McCray on Danieal Manning during a 21-yard kick return by Manning in the second quarter.[8] On October 31, 2010, Church collected a season-high four combined tackles in the Cowboys' 35–17 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. On November 9, 2010, the Dallas Cowboys fired head coach Wade Phillips after a 45–7 loss to the Green Bay Packers and falling to a 1-7 record.[9] He finished his rookie season in 2010 with 20 combined tackles (15 solo) in 15 games and zero starts.[10] He finished fourth on the team with 16 tackles on special teams.

2011 seasonEdit

Church returned to training camp in 2011 and competed for a role as a backup safety against Andrew Sendejo, Danny McCray, Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, and Michael Hamlin. Head coach Jason Garrett named him the backup behind Gerald Sensabaugh and Abram Elam to start the regular season.[11][12]

In Week 4, Church recorded a season-high six combined tackles in a 34–30 loss to the Detroit Lions. On December 11, 2011, he earned his first career start and recorded two solo tackles before leaving the Cowboys' 37–34 loss to the New York Giants in the third quarter with a shoulder injury. On December 13, 2011, the Dallas Cowboys placed Church on injured reserve after discovering his shoulder would require surgery to repair the AC joint.[13] He finished his second season in 2011 with 28 combined tackles (21 solo) in 13 games and one start.[10]

2012 seasonEdit

After two seasons of increasing playing time as a hybrid linebacker and safety. He returned to training camp and competed for the job as the starting strong safety against Brodney Pool. Church was named the starting strong safety, alongside free safety Gerald Sensabaugh, to start season.[14]

He started the Dallas Cowboys' season-opener at the New York Giants and recorded two combined tackles in their 24–17 victory. On September 23, 2012, Church made a season-high three solo tackles in a 16–10 victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but left in the third quarter after sustaining a torn achilles. He underwent surgery to repair the tendon two days later.[15] Church finished his last season under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan with six combined tackles (four solo) in three games and three starts.[10]

Still rehabbing from a serious injury, the Cowboys took a gamble that he would make a full recovery and on October 26, 2012, signed Church to a four-year, $8.82 million contract extension that included $3.32 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $2.5 million.[16]

2013 seasonEdit

Throughout training camp, Church competed for the job as the starting free safety against rookie J. J. Wilcox and Matt Johnson after it was left vacant by the retirement of Gerald Sensabaugh.[17] Defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin named him the starting free safety, along with strong safety Will Allen, to start the regular season.[18]

On October 20, 2013, Church recorded five combined tackles, broke up a pass, and made his first career interception off quarterback Matt Barkley during a 17–3 victory at the Philadelphia Eagles. In Week 10, he collected a season-high 14 combined tackles (nine solo) in the Cowboys' 49–17 loss to the New Orleans Saints. The following week, Church made 13 combined tackles (eight solo) in a 24-21 victory at the New York Giants.[19] When injuries impacted the depth at linebacker, he also provided help by playing linebacker on passing situations. Church finished his first full season as a starter leading the team with 147 combined tackles (107 solo), six pass deflections, three forced fumbles (led the team), and an interception in 16 starts.[10]

2014 seasonEdit

Church entered training camp slated as the starting free safety with starting strong safety J.J. Wilcox.[20] In Week 12, Church recorded eight solo tackles, deflected a pass, and returned an interception by Eli Manning for a 45-yard gain during their 35–28 victory at the New York Giants. The following week, he collected a season-high 11 combined tackles (nine solo) and broke up a pass in the Cowboys' 33–10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.[21] He led the team with 110 combined tackles (77 solo), six pass deflections, two interceptions, and a forced fumble in 16 starts.[10]

The Dallas Cowboys finished first in the NFC East with a 12–4 record and received a playoff berth. On January 4, 2015, Church started in his first career playoff game and recorded four combined tackles during a 24–20 victory against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Wildcard Game. The following week, he made eight combined tackles in the Cowboys' 26–21 loss at the Green Bay Packers.[21]

2015 seasonEdit

Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli opted to retain Church and Wilcox as the starting safety duo after assistant head coach/co-defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin was not re-signed during the off-season.[22]

In Week 10, Church collected a season-high 11 combined tackles (nine solo) during the Cowboys' 10–6 loss at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On December 13, 2015, he tied his season-high of 11 combined tackles (nine solo) during a 28–7 loss at the Green Bay Packers. On December 27, 2015, Church recorded seven combined tackles, but left the Cowboys' 16–6 loss at the Buffalo Bills in the fourth quarter after breaking his right arm.[23] He was expected to be in a cast for 6–8 weeks and missed the last game of the season.[24] He finished second on the team witih 136 combined tackles (78 solo) and a forced fumble in 15 starts.[10]

2016 seasonEdit

Head coach Jason Garrett named Church the starting strong safety, alongside starting free safety Byron Jones.[25]

During Week 2, Church made five combined tackles, broke up a pass, and intercepted a pass by Kirk Cousins in the endzone. The interception set up Dak Prescott for the Cowboys' game-winning drive in the their 27–23 victory at the Washington Redskins.[26] Against the Green Bay Packers he had five tackles, a forced fumble, a pass defended, and a third-quarter interception. On October 30, 2016, Church made three combined tackles before leaving Dallas' 29–23 victory against the Philadelphia Eagles in the third quarter after fracturing his forearm during a touchdown drive by the Eagles. He was sidelined for four consecutive games (Weeks 9–12) due to the injury, but returned in Week 13 and opted to play with a cast on.[27]

In Week 16, he collected a season-high 12 combined tackles (seven solo) in a 42–31 victory against the Detroit Lions.[28] Church completed the 2016 season with 85 combined tackles (61 solo), four passes defended, and two interceptions in 12 games and 12 starts.[10] He received an overall grade of 86.2 from Pro Football Focus in 2016 and ranked ninth among all qualifying safeties.[29] In the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers, Church made four combined tackles and made his first career sack on Aaron Rodgers as the Cowboys lost by a score of 34-31.

Jacksonville JaguarsEdit

On March 9, 2017, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Church to a four-year, $26 million contract that includes $12 million guaranteed.[4][30][31] Head coach Doug Marrone named Church the starting strong safety, along with free safety Tashaun Gipson, after it was left vacant due to Johnathan Cyprien's departure to the Tennessee Titans in free agency.[32]

2017 seasonEdit

In Week 4, Church made six combined tackles and sacked quarterback Josh McCown in the Jaguars' 23–20 loss at the New York Jets. On October 8, 2017, Church recorded five combined tackles, deflected a pass, and returned an interception by Ben Roethlisberger for a 51-yard touchdown during a 30–9 victory at the Pittsburgh Steelers. It marked his second touchdown in eight seasons. The Jaguars' defense set a franchise record by intercepting five passes by Ben Roethlisberger during their game. In Week 12, he collected a season-high nine combined tackles, broke up a pass, and intercepted a pass by Carson Palmer during a 27–24 loss at the Arizona Cardinals. Church finished his first season with the Jacksonville Jaguars with 72 combined tackles (58 solo), eight pass deflections, four interceptions, 1.5 sacks, and a touchdown in 16 games and 16 starts.[10]

The Jaguars finished first in the AFC South with a 10–6 record to clinch a playoff berth. The Jaguars defeated the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wildcard Game and went on to defeat the Steelers 45–42 in the AFC Divisional round. Church recorded seven combined tackles during their victory over the Steelers. On January 21, 2018, Church made one tackle during the Jaguars' 24–20 loss at the New England. He drew criticism and received a personal foul after delivering a hit to tight end Rob Gronkowski's head. Gronkowski was immediately carted of the field and did not return after he suffered a concussion. On January 26, 2018, Church was fined $24,309 for the hit.[33] Pro Football Focus gave Church an overall grade of 83.2 in 2017, ranking him 22nd among all qualifying safeties.[34]

2018 seasonEdit

Church entered the 2018 season slated as the starting strong safety alongside free safety Tashaun Gipson. He started the first 11 games before being benched in Weeks 13 and 14 in favor of rookie Ronnie Harrison. He was ultimately released by the Jaguars on December 14, 2018 after officially losing the starting job to Harrison.[35][36] He registered 38 tackles, one interception and 2 passes defended.

NFL statisticsEdit

Regular seasonEdit

2010 DAL 15 0 20 15 5 0.0 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2011 DAL 13 1 28 21 7 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2012 DAL 3 3 6 4 2 0.0 0 1 6 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2013 DAL 16 16 135 107 28 0.0 3 1 27 1 0 0.0 0 0 6
2014 DAL 16 16 97 77 20 0.0 1 1 -1 2 49 24.5 45 0 6
2015 DAL 15 15 117 78 39 0.0 1 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0
2016 DAL 12 12 85 61 24 0.0 1 0 0 2 14 7.0 14 0 4
2017 JAX 16 16 74 58 16 1.5 0 0 0 4 51 12.8 51 1 8
2018 JAX 11 11 38 32 6 0.5 0 0 0 1 11 11.0 11 0 2
Career 117 90 595 447 148 2.0 7 3 32 10 125 12.5 51 1 26


2014 DAL 2 2 12 10 2 0.0 1 0 -2 0 0 0 0 0 0
2016 DAL 1 1 4 2 2 1.0 1 0 0 2 14 7.0 14 0 0
2017 JAX 3 3 13 10 3 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 6 6 29 22 7 1.0 2 0 -2 0 0 0.0 0 0 0


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  15. Watkins, Calvin (September 25, 2012). "Barry Church undergoes Achilles surgery". Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  16. Rapoport, Ian (October 26, 2012). "Barry Church, Dallas Cowboys sign four-year contract extension". National Football League. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  17. Machota, John (May 21, 2013). "Cowboys rookie safety J.J. Wilcox showing his physicality even without pads on". Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  18. " Dallas Cowboys Depth Chart: 09/05/2013". Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  19. "NFL Player stats: Barry Church (2013)". Retrieved March 26, 2018.
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  21. 21.0 21.1 "NFL Player stats: Barry Church (2014)". Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  22. "Report: Monte Kiffin will not return to the Cowboys' coaching staff". February 10, 2015. Retrieved March 26, 2018.
  23. Machota, John (December 27, 2015). "Cowboys injury report: Barry Church headed to IR, Devin Street has a concussion". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  24. Helman, David (December 27, 2015). "Barry Church Suffers Broken Arm, Expects 6-To-8 Week Recovery Time". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  25. " Dallas Cowboys Depth Chart: 09/01/2016". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  26. "Morris' TD after Cousins' INT leads Cowboys past Skins 27-23". March 9, 2017.
  27. "Cowboys safety Barry Church, cornerback Mo Claiborne both suffer injuries in second half". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  28. "NFL Player stats: Barry Church (2016)". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  29. Claasen, Matt (January 10, 2017). "Ranking all 32 NFL secondaries this season". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  30. Patra, Kevin (March 9, 2017). "Jaguars expected to land safety Barry Church". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  31. Oehser, John (March 10, 2017). "OFFICIAL: Barry Church signs with Jaguars".
  32. " Jacksonville Jaguars Depth Chart: 09/02/2017". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  33. "Barry Church fined $24,309 for hit on Rob Gronkowski". NFL. Retrieved January 26, 2018.
  34. "Pro Football Focus: Barry Church". Retrieved March 27, 2018.
  35. DiRocco, Michael (December 14, 2018). "After losing starting spot, safety Barry Church released by Jaguars". ESPN.
  36. "Jaguars make roster moves". December 14, 2018.

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