There has been a lot of hype for various wide receivers on the Dallas Cowboys roster over the course of the offseason and training camp.
CeeDee Lamb brings an obvious level of attention as the group’s alpha.
Brandin Cooks is the shiny new toy so a lot of people are excited to see him on the team.
Jalen Tolbert has emerged from the shadows of a bad rookie year and promise lives once again.
Heck, names like Jalen Brooks and Jalen Moreno-Cropper have generated their fair share of storylines as the team has worked their way through Oxnard.
The forgotten member of the group is the one with the most recent big-time contract of them all, Michael Gallup. It was last offseason when Dallas gave Gallup a new deal, an awkward sort of thing given that he was rehabbing from a torn ACL that he suffered in Week 17 of the 2021 season.
Gallup was not the player that we have come to know throughout the 2022 season and he recently spoke about how he wasn’t exactly in a mental state that he was comfortable in.
Michael Gallup says he wasn’t mentally in the right place during the 2022 season
We do not need to re-litigate anything here, but it is universally agreed upon that the Cowboys did not handle the wide receiver position well last offseason. Part of what Dallas did poorly was depend heavily on impractical things: Jalen Tolbert being a serious contributor as a rookie, James Washington making an impact, and Michael Gallup returning to proper form quickly after a torn ACL.
Truth be told, Gallup’s numbers in 2021 were not stellar (speaking about the season as a whole) but he simply did not look or feel like the version of himself that we grew accustomed to seeing. Gallup was a guest on the latest episode of The Around The NFL Podcast (as was Leighton Vander Esch) and detailed how he was not in the right space mentally throughout last season’s campaign.
Dan Hanzus: Another year removed from knee surgery. You say that your mental game, mentally you’re all the way back. I was curious as a professional athlete… what was it last year that just felt different and how are things in a different place now? A better place?
Michael Gallup: I think just coming off, really any injury, you’ve got to make sure that you have your mentals right. Everybody says they’re good, but there’s always something a little bit up under the table that you’re not trying to express to everybody. But that was my big problem. I said I was good. Mentally, I really wasn’t. But physically I knew I was good. So I could go out there and do enough, but it wasn’t enough to be out there. I shouldn’t have been playing like that.
Dan Hanzus: Do you feel like you’re in a better, kind of a good spot here? Because they bring in Brandin Cooks, obviously CeeDee’s here and now you’re feeling better physically and mentally and maybe they’re not expecting as much on the outside and it kind of sets you up nice to surprise some people.
Michael Gallup: Oh yea, definitely. That’s how it’s kind of always been all my years here playing for the Cowboys, just kind of been that third wide receiver, little outlier. But if they get doubled that means I’ve got to be one on one, so that’s easy pickings for me.
It is commendable that Gallup would embrace the role of being the third wide receiver on the Cowboys roster. He has experienced a variety of change in the position room over his career as the team released Dez Bryant shortly before he joined the organization, traded for Amari Cooper his rookie year, traded him away, and then rewarded Gallup with his deal with the expectation of a Herculean sort of medical recovery.
But recovery is more than just about being physically cleared as Gallup noted here. While he obviously played for the team for most of last season, by his own admission, he was not in the proper place to contribute to the best of his abilities. Hopefully with an entire offseason behind him now, one void of any sort of recovery, he can contribute the way that we have seen him do so in the past,. Having Brandin Cooks in the fold will certainly not hurt.
Something non-football related that was interesting in this interview was that Gallup said, perhaps a bit in jest, that he will probably be a professional fisherman when he is no longer playing football. I guess we will see!