Different Kind Of Cowboy

IRVING, Tex. - Second-year wide receiver Kevin Ogletree is a unique individual.

It's not that he's eccentric — just … different.

While teammates talk of having spent the offseason reshaping their physiques through hard work and a newfound dedication to nutrition, Ogletree insists he still eats like he always did, and admits it doesn't always include the healthiest fare. He questions reporters about the results of World Cup games despite never having player soccer and playing a sport whose participants seem to have a nearly universal dislike for the world's most popular sport.

While he admits to still scarfing down his share of fast food, he justifies his diet by pointing out that he's young and burns of whatever he puts into his body.

"I don't really watch what I eat," he said. "I'm young — I don't really have to yet. But I know that day will come."

Meanwhile, soccer is one sport the former three-sport star (he was a standout player in baseball and basketball, as well as football) never tried. Yet he sees qualities in soccer players that transcend any single sport.

"I never played soccer, but I respect the sport," he said. "It seems like you either hate it or you love it, but I love it. I started watching during the last World Cup, and now I love watching it. They're amazing athletes, and they play with such intensity, such passion. How can you not respect it?"

Ogletree was a pleasant surprise to the Cowboys last year. Despite beign an undrafted rookie out of Virginia, he made the team as a rookie. His statistics were limited — including the playoff games, he caught eight passes for 101 yards, and returned 15 kickoffs for 264 yards — but toward the end of the season, he was one of the Cowboys' more dangerous weapons. His slashing running style that made him a dangerous return man on special teams also made him a threat on offense. His smarts allowed him to digest the playbook so thoroughly that coaches felt comfortable lining him up in a number of spots and fulfilling myriad roles, whether catching a deep out route or simple screen, or even serving as a decoy. Toward the end of the season, some were even calling for Ogletree to join the starting lineup.

The native of Queens, N.Y., knows better than to assume anything in terms of playing time, or even making the 2010 Dallas roster. He knows that the team has big money invested in Roy Williams and still has to sign first-round draft pick Dez Bryant. Top receiver Miles Austin has signed his one-year tender with the team, but the Cowboys have every intention of locking up Austin with a long-term deal, which will be lucrative. Patrick Crayton returned to the team during the recent mini-camp, but has asked for a trade; if he isn't dealt, Ogletree could find himself battling for the fifth spot in what very well could be a five-receiver rotation.

"I hope I make it," he said. "That's my plan, of course. But we have a lot of talented guys (receivers) on this team. I have to earn it, just like I did when I was a rookie."

What's different for Ogletree between now and a year ago at this time is that he now knows the offense. Last year, he admits he was lost, just trying to take everything in as fought for a roster spot. A year later, he finds himself battling again for his place on the team, but better prepared for that fight.

"I'm stronger, physically, but more than that, I'm more confident," Ogletree said. "I have a year in the system, so now I know what I'm supposed to be doing.

"Now it's a matter of just going out and proving to the coaches again that I can do it."

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