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Cowboys WR Michael Gallup feeling 'springy' after season back from injury: 'I'm smiling every time I walk into that facility' 

Michael Gallup is all smiles as he approaches his sixth season in Dallas.

Nearly 18 months removed from an ACL tear, the Cowboys wide receiver is feeling like the playmaker who eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark during an impressive 2019 season.

"I'm very confident I'll be that guy, for sure," said Gallup, via ESPN's Todd Archer. "Very confident. It just feels different. It's kind of like in the air. I ain't going to lie to you. I'm smiling every time I walk in that facility."

Gallup described the difference as feeling "springy again" at organized team activities. This time last year, the 27-year-old was forced to watch OTAs from the sidelines as he rehabbed his knee before making a swift but limited return to the field in Week 4 of last season.

While his snap count progressively grew in 2022, Gallup's final numbers weren't up to his standard. In 14 games played, his 39 receptions for 424 yards and four touchdowns resulted in a career-low 10.9 yards per reception, which was big difference from the 16.8 YPR during his hallmark second season.

Although he showed flashes in the Cowboys' wild-card victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a TD catch, Gallup was blanked in the Divisional Round defeat to the San Francisco 49ers. Gallup's inconsistent postseason mirrored an unsatisfying comeback season.

"It was definitely frustrating, just on my part," Gallup said. "Nothing to do with the team or anything like that, but just me coming back. I mean that was tough. I never had a big injury like that. It was different. I had to work a little bit harder. I had to do some things that I've never had to do. I could normally just walk out on the field and play. Couldn't do that."

Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy, who will be taking over the offensive play-calling in 2023 following the exit of Kellen Moore, hopes to better utilize Gallup now that he's up to speed physically.

"Michael's very important," McCarthy said. "I think that the biggest thing with Michael -- and I know he wants it too -- he just wants to have a healthy season. He's been through these injuries here and he looks good. I mean this is really the first time in my time here he's had a full offseason program. Yeah, he's very important."

In acquiring Brandin Cooks this offseason, Dallas upgraded its passing attack with a deep-threat specialist. The added attention downfield can certainly benefit Gallup, not to mention CeeDee Lamb, the Cowboys' leading receiver the past two seasons.

Dak Prescott, too, is already seeing a difference in Gallup in late May.

"Just for him to get into this offseason, get his body right and now just starting to come back into who Michael Gallup is and feel himself, I think what you just saw is a couple of plays right there of doing that consecutively," Prescott said. "But that's a guy that I've got a lot of trust in. I know who he is, and more importantly, how he works and comes to work each and every day to get better. He's getting his feet under him and he's going to be better."

The Cowboys signed Gallup to a five-year, $57.5 million contract last offseason as the WR rehabbed a serious knee injury. Gallup is preparing to affirm the club's trust in 2023.

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