The Cowboys signed USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin on Thursday, the team announced. They cut fullback Nick Ralston in a corresponding move.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy called Turpin “dynamic,” and Turpin will compete for the return jobs. It would allow the Cowboys to take punt return duties away from No. 1 receiver CeeDee Lamb and kickoff return duties from backup running back Tony Pollard.
Both Lamb and Pollard are expected to play big roles on offense.
Turpin played for the New Jersey Generals in the USFL. He caught 44 passes for league-leading 540 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games, while rushing for 129 yards and a touchdown. He also had 184 punt return yards.
Turpin spent three seasons with TCU, becoming the top returner in program history with four punt return touchdowns and two on kickoffs. He also contributed 13 receiving touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns.
But Turpin was kicked off the TCU program in 2018 for two domestic violence charges.
A battery charge against a former girlfriend in Las Cruces, New Mexico, in 2018 was pled down to disorderly contact, according to Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. But a misdemeanor assault charge in Fort Worth, stemming from an Oct. 18 arrest resulted in a guilty plea to assault causing bodily injury against the same woman.
As part of his plea agreement, Turpin will serve two years’ deferred adjudication probation and must complete a 27-week Partner Abuse Intervention Program, per Hill.
“We’re obviously aware of the situation with him coming out,” McCarthy said, via Jori Epstein of USA Today. “I think things in life if you get a second chance, you do the work. My understanding is he was responsible and accountable and did the things he needed to do. He’s well aware of what’s expected of him and obviously that behavior is not what we’re looking for.”