The Cowboys traded Amari Cooper a year ago and re-signed Michael Gallup as their No. 2 receiver opposite CeeDee Lamb. But Gallup wasn’t himself in returning in less than a year from the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
He caught only 34 passes for 424 yards and four touchdowns in 2022.
The best thing about this year for Gallup is it isn’t last year.
“[Last year] I was thinking too much,” Gallup said Wednesday, via 105.3 The Fan. “My knee was feeling sore, and it was just different. Last year at this time, I couldn’t walk. It’s different now. I feel springy again. It just feels different. It’s kind of like in the air. I’m smiling every time I walk in that facility.”
Gallup tore his ACL on Jan. 2, 2022, against the Cardinals and underwent surgery Feb. 10, 2022. He missed only three games before returning to action on Oct. 2, nine months after his injury.
Noah Brown ended up as the team’s second-leading wideout last season with 43 catches for 555 yards and three touchdowns. Brown left in free agency, and the Cowboys upgraded with the trade for Brandin Cooks, who caught 57 passes for 699 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games for the Texans last season.
“[Cooks] is just bringing knowledge to the whole group, and we love him in there,” Gallup said. “I ain’t going to lie to you: He has been in there everyday, working, just trying to win. That’s all he wants to do is just win, and he wants to do it as a group. He’s a great addition.”
If Cooks can continue to do what he’s done his entire career, with Gallup can return to the form from 2019-20 when he averaged 63 catches, 975 yards and almost six touchdowns, the Cowboys offense will be formidable.
Gallup said he is “very confident” he can be the player he was before the injury.
Entering the second year of a five-year, $57.5 million deal, Gallup faces a pivotal season in trying to live up to the contract. Finally being fully healthy is a good start.