Galloway Under the Microscope

Cowboys receiver Joey Galloway knows what's being said about him. Not just now that the team's second-highest paid player has not been guaranteed a starting job by coach Bill Parcells heading into Sunday's season opener against the Falcons.

But he's always known, dating back to the trade with Seattle in 2000 that brought him here for two first-round draft picks and a seven-year, $42 million contract.

The nine-year veteran would agree that the absence of a 1,000-yard receiving season and the Cowboys inability to make the playoffs since his arrival doesn't look good, nor does the fact that he's now battling for a starting spot with Terry Glenn and Antonio Bryant.

"Not much as looked good for me," Galloway said. "A lot of negative things have happened. A lot of negative things have been said. But I don't look at it as a negative. We are deep a group of receivers as any I have been around. Both guys are playmakers and very good athletes. That's the coach's decision. All I control is how I play."

On the surface, it's not a negative. Parcells isn't looking at it as one. He agrees that have a deep and talented receiver corps, which is shaping up as their biggest weapon on offense.

While the speedy Galloway started playing behind Glenn late in training camp, he could be playing in front of Bryant if the second-year receiver continues to be hobbled by a quad strain.

"I am alternating Joey with Terry and Antonio," Parcells said. "I haven't gotten starters right now. If I had to start a game today, it would be Joey and Terry because Antonio isn't right where I hope he will be. We are going to use them all."

That sounds great in the locker room and on game day but football is a business. And when it comes to the financial ledger, the situation surrounding Galloway is not what the Cowboys envisioned.

Galloway's base salary for 2003 is $4.85 million and his cap figure is $6.6 million. It goes without saying that much more than a guaranteed starting spot should be expected of him as opposed to Bryant and Glenn, who base salaries and cap numbers for 2003 are $300,000/$439,000 and $655,000/$1.1 million, respectively.

Add those numbers up with the situation and it could result in this being Galloway's last year in Dallas or at least a revisiting of his contract in offseason.

It's unlikely the Cowboys will pay him his slated base salaries of $6.3 million, $7.5 million and $8.5 million over the next three years. They could restructure his deal or cut him and actually save millions. If the Cowboys cut Galloway before June 1 they would get back $2.7 million under the cap in 2004. If they did it after June 1, they would get back $6.3 million.

Galloway declined to talk about money or any potential offseason decision.

And although Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has already gone on record saying he wouldn't have made the trade if knew then what he knows now, Galloway wants it known that he has no regrets about being traded to Dallas and would love to finish his career as a Cowboy.

"This has been a blessing for me," said Galloway who has caught 117 passes for 1,669 yards and 10 touchdowns in three years here after averaging 65 catches a year for 1,030 yards and nine touchdowns in four seasons in Seattle.

"It's a great team and a great organization. I would love to be a Cowboy when I retire."

What's more, Galloway says he still has some unfinished business in Dallas. He too had big dreams when he came over from Seattle. But things haven't worked out for him either, considering he came to play with future Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman but only caught one pass from him in the first game of the season. Aikman was knocked out with a concussion and Galloway suffered a season-ending knee injury later in the game.

Aikman retired in the offseason, ushering in a revolving door at quarterback. Galloway has worked with five different starters since 2001, including Quincy Carter, Chad Hutchinson, Ryan Leaf, Clint Stoerner and Anthony Wright. And if you add in Aikman and Randall Cunningham, who replaced Aikman in the season opener in 2000, he has caught passes from eight different quarterbacks since coming to Dallas.

Developing chemistry and timing with a quarterback has been an impossibility, which actually made Galloway's strong effort last season even more impressive. He caught 61 passes for 908 yards and six touchdowns while enduring the Carter-Hutchinson turmoil at quarterback.

The still explosive Galloway understands the scrutiny he has received and makes no excuses for the past. His goals for 2003 and however long he remains here is to build on last season's success and help the Cowboys become winners again.

"It has been an entirely different situation than what I was brought here to be with," Galloway said. "Before the trade, the only person I talked to was Troy Aikman. We had big plans. I got one game with him. This is entirely different than what Jerry Jones and I expected. But I came here to accomplish some things that haven't been accomplished yet. I mean yet. I wanted to part of a winning team and go to the playoffs. I believe that still can happen. I don't want to leave before it does."

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