IRVING, Texas --This time last year, Kevin Ogletree was the leading in-house candidate for the open No. 3 receiver job. By midseason, Laurent Robinson -- signed off the couch to a minimum contract in September -- had taken it from him.
This year, the Cowboys still have hope Ogletree can have Robinson-like impact in the offense -- maybe not the 11 touchdown catches that netted Robinson a five-year, $32 million deal from the Jaguars in March, but a productive alternative to starting wideouts Dez Bryant and Miles Austin and tight end Jason Witten.
"We had a great sit-down with Kevin when we signed him back and said, 'Laurent could be you if you'll go out and play to your ability, but you've got to put in the effort, put in the work,'" Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said last week. "And sure enough this offseason he's worked as hard as he's ever worked.
"He's got a ton of talent. And as we told him, 'If you go out and put up the numbers, that could be you.'"
Signed as a rookie free agent in 2009, Ogletree has has 25 career catches for 294 yards and no touchdowns. In March, he signed a one-year contract worth a little more than the three-year veteran minimum ($615,000).
This summer he'll compete with young wideouts Andre Holmes and Raymond Radway and fifth-round draft pick Danny Coale. And he knows as well as anybody that new competition, like a Laurent Robinson, can arrive at any time.
Different year, same opportunity. Will he seize it?