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Michael Gallup Hopes To Return To Cowboys, Expects Bounce-Back Season

  • Justin Melo
  • February 11, 2022
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The NFL offseason looms large as 32 franchises prepare to improve their rosters via free agency and the draft. One of the more sought-after pass-catchers will undeniably be Cowboys free agent receiver Michael Gallup, who is coming off a strong fourth campaign as Dallas' No. 3 receiver in Mike McCarthy's high-octane, efficient passing attack. An ascending talent, Gallup possesses the skill set necessary to improve every pass-catching corps in the league. The Cowboys should attempt to re-sign Gallup, but his market will be littered with competitors. Gallup recently spoke exclusively with The Draft Network about his impending free agency, his partnership with Sleep Number's charitable efforts that were designed to honor his late brother while providing new opportunities for West African children looking to further education, playing for coach Kellen Moore, his favorite route to run, and so much more. JM: It’s Super Bowl Week! It’s obviously a big week in the NFL as Super Bowl LVI looms large. The Cincinnati Bengals will take on the Los Angeles Rams. How do you see this game playing out? I might put you on the spot and ask for a prediction… MG: I wish I had a more thorough prediction to give you (laughs). I know it’s going to be a fun game to watch. I think we’re in for an explosive game. I honestly think we might witness one of the higher scoring Super Bowls in recent memory. Both teams have so much talent on the offensive side of the ball. You’re talking about two incredibly explosive offenses. Why not, I’ll give you a prediction. I think the Rams are going to win the game. That’s my personal opinion. I love their offense and what coach Sean McVay does on that side of the ball with those weapons. I love how they do things. They’re very explosive. It’s going to be a fun game to watch. I like the Rams’ chances. JM: We’re hoping for a high-scoring, entertaining affair. You recently partnered with Sleep Number, who is making a generous donation of $5,000 to The Andrew Murray Gallup Memorial Fund which was created in honor of your brother who was born in West Africa and possessed a tremendous love of learning. The fund gives children in Africa a chance for a quality education and personal opportunity. I realize this opportunity and donation hit extremely close to home for you. Tell me about your relationship with Sleep Number, this initiative, and why it matters so much to you. MG: My brother Andrew meant the world to me. Growing up, I was all about sports and playing football. Andrew was all about the classroom and furthering his knowledge and education. That’s what he did best. Andrew, unfortunately, passed away during my rookie season. I went through the emotions of that and they were difficult to deal with. Sleep Number decided to partner with me and help me out with this terrific initiative which I believe properly honors his memory. It’s all about giving back in the name of my brother’s legacy. We wanted to help the kids in South Africa where Andrew was born. We want to help the kids of South Africa further their education by finding new opportunities. We’re doing what we can to help those kids live a better life. I’m thankful to Sleep Number for helping me out with this important donation and opportunity. JM: We love and appreciate your willingness to keep his honor and legacy alive. The Dallas Cowboys are retaining Kellen Moore as their offensive coordinator after he interviewed for a few head-coaching openings elsewhere. What are your overall thoughts on coach Moore, and what’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while playing for him? MG: Coach Moore is a think-outside-the-box type of coach and play-caller. I think all of our wide receivers have enjoyed playing under him for the last couple of seasons. He constantly puts us in creative positions on the field. We’re not pigeonholed into one position on every single snap. Coach Moore loves getting creative by moving us around the formation. For example, you saw CeeDee Lamb line up in the backfield on several occasions. Kellen has taught us the importance of expanding our games beyond being a one-trick pony. We needed to wear multiple hats in order to successfully play in his offense. He’s helped us learn the game the way he’s learned it. I think he’s been great for us. JM: Moore is extremely creative. You unfortunately suffered a torn ACL in a Week 17 contest against the Arizona Cardinals. How’s the recovery process treating you thus far? MG: I’m actually having surgery tomorrow (2/10/22). I’ve been receiving treatment and helping rebuild all the muscles around my knee right now as we allow the swelling to go down. I’m actually having the surgery tomorrow. We’ll get this process really rolling once the surgery is successfully completed. JM: There’s so much to appreciate and enjoy while watching your game on tape. I asked you this same question in 2017, but I’m going to ask you again because I feel like your game is obviously more well-rounded now than it was then. Do you have a favorite route to run? MG: One of my favorite routes to run is definitely just a dig route. I love running a dig within that 14-16 yard range. I love coming across the middle on that dig route, man. A lot of wide receivers don’t enjoy running that route because you can’t always see what’s in front of you. There might be a safety coming downhill to lay a hit on you (laughs). I really enjoy that route. It helps open up some different things in the playbook if you can get one of those going while coming out of the backend. A dig route is my favorite route. JM: I’m so glad I asked. When I asked you in 2017, you said a vertical, go route. Collegiate receivers love that vertical route (laughs). I know you’ve matured since then… MG: Yeah, that sounds like the old Michael Gallup (laughs). I definitely believe that’s exactly what I told you back then (laughs). JM: Looking back at this past season, there were times when the offense was firing on all cylinders. There were other instances where it sputtered and ball distribution came into question and the overall rhythm of the offense seemed off. What do you attribute that to? MG: I would say we connected really well on the offensive side of the ball this season. That’s how I view it overall. I personally didn’t feel like we had many disappointing outputs. We’re proud of what we achieved offensively. I also look at our defense and how they played so well towards giving us so many opportunities. We created so many turnovers and additional possessions. They consistently placed us in good positions to score points. We rarely started inside our own 10-yard line and things of that nature. We had great field position. Our defense got a lot of stops and created a bunch of turnovers. I have to commend our defense for how well our offense played this year. That’s how I honestly feel about that. JM: Who are some of your favorite receivers to study and learn from? MG: I have one in my own room (laughs). Amari Cooper is one of the best to do it. He’s on my team. He might tell me certain things I need to do better, or other things I can work on that maybe I haven’t done at all. I love watching him. I love watching Davante Adams. He’s not the fastest receiver in the league but he always creates at least five yards of separation (laughs). He gets behind the defense and catches the ball. I love watching him run routes. Everybody in the league enjoys watching Odell Beckham Jr. He’s always been a fun receiver to watch and learn from. I watched him in college and I’ve continued watching him closely ever since he entered the league. He has amazing hands and a great feel for where he’s at on the field at all times. Those are three receivers I enjoy watching and learning from. JM: The first person you mentioned was your own teammate. I get the impression the Cowboys had a tight-knit locker room throughout 2021, but I’m still going to put you on the spot. If you were going to war tomorrow and could only bring one teammate with you, who would you bring and why? MG: That’s a tough question (laughs). I’m definitely bringing Cedrick Wilson with me. He’s another great wide receiver in my position room. I’ve known Ced for a long time. We were recruited together coming out of junior college. We played against each other for two years at JUCO, and then Wilson went to the Mountain West with Boise State and I went to the Mountain West with Colorado State. We played against each other again for two more years there (laughs). We’ve now been playing on the same team for four years. He’s my locker mate. We sit next to each other on the bus and on the plane. I would definitely go to war for him, and with him. JM: We love that Mountain West connection. Free agency looms large for you. Are you hoping to be a Dallas Cowboy in 2022? MG: I hope I’m a Cowboy in 2022. I can’t say that I will be with any certainty. I would definitely like to be a Cowboy. I love it down here in Dallas. We will see what happens ultimately. JM: The early postseason exit obviously wasn’t in the plans. How do the Cowboys bounce back in 2022? MG: I know the Cowboys are going to bounce back, regardless of how our season came to an end. The Cowboys are hungry and ready to build off what we did and accomplished this past season. We plan to keep piling on the success. We had a great run that was unfortunately cut short. We have to step it up in the playoffs. We need to make a couple more plays when the game’s on the line. I know that the Cowboys will for sure bounce back in 2022.

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Justin Melo