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May 11, 2012

Kevin Ogletree says offseason events have put football into more focus for him as he goes for Cowboys' No. 3 receiver spot

Kevin Ogletree said something will be different about him this year than in years past when he has tried to take a firm hold of the No. 3 receiver position.

Football has become his focus.

“I haven’t, for a while, had football as my life, my focus,” he said this week at the Cowboys golf tournament in Grapevine. “Some things happened in the offseason that really forced me to look in the mirror and dig deep and find out what I want to be.

“It’s a good opportunity for me. I’ve got to go out and grab it. Like I said, some bad things have turned me into a better person.”

Ogletree was talking about the shooting of his brother, Calvin Ogletree, in New York City in January. His older brother was shot in the head outside his luxury rental car business in Queens and is recovering.

“That specifically has changed my attitude and work ethic,” Ogletree said.

Ogletree, entering his fourth year with the Cowboys since making the team as an undrafted free agent in 2009, had his most productive year last season. He caught 15 passes for 164 yards, 11 for first downs, and returned two punts.

But he fell behind Laurent Robinson in the pecking order for the No. 3 receiver spot. He became a restricted free agent after the season, and although the Cowboys didn’t tender him an offer – making him available to any other team – he and the club agreed to a one-year deal in March.

In March, coach Jason Garrett brought up Ogletree’s name when he was asked about the No. 3 receiver spot.

“We feel like we have some young receivers that we like," Garrett said. “Kevin Ogletree has been with us for three years now and has really done a good job with the opportunities given him. Has not had a lot of playing time, been behind some veteran players. But we like what he's doing with the limited chances he's gotten, so he's certainly in the mix.”

At last week’s rookie minicamp, receivers coach Jimmy Robinson said of Ogletree’s prospects to emerge as the third receiver, “I’m hopeful that he can. Again, that’s an unknown at this point, but he’s had a good off-season. All I can say is so far he’s worked extremely hard. He’s gotten stronger. He’s gotten bigger. So again, time will tell.”

Ogletree was asked by reporters if he sees signs of the Cowboys’ faith in him.

“It’s my job to instill that faith, and you can only do that by working hard, coming to work every day with your lunch pail and just giving it your all,” he said.

He said he didn’t dwell on not being offered a contract initially.

“It’s a business. I know they had some priorities they had to take care of and some free agency deals that they were trying to work out,” he said. “I just had to be ready for whatever and continue to work like I was going to be somewhere.”

Ogletree said all of the receivers are trying to take advantage of their chance to replace Robinson.

“If we could get another Laurent anywhere on the team, that would be good, just because of how productive he was and how much he helped our team last year,” he said. “We’re all working to be the best player we can be. We know as long as we get better, we’ll be a better team. As far as myself goes, those are some pretty big shoes to fill, but I’ll be working my hardest.”

Ogletree said he can already sense the benefits of a formal offseason.

 “It’s such a relief being in there and being able to listen to Coach Robinson and be around Coach Garrett,” he said. “I really never felt the effect of the lockout until this year, when you realize what you’re missing. It’s just good to hear them talk to you, to get coaching, not to be so far way from work. It’s really a great deal to have a traditional offseason.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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Comments

We cut hard workers like T.O. and keep scrubs like this guy and Austin. And some wonder why this team never wins.

@LENNY....HATING ON JUST JERRY FOR THE MISSES AND NOT SAYING THEY HAVE HIT ON GUYS IS WHAT I AM GETTING AT. I DO REMEMBER HIM BEING BASHED FOR TAKING D WARE AND PASSING ON SHAWN MERRIMAN.

Of course its Jerr's team and money. Nobody disputes this. But it doesnt mean people like me cannot state the obvious...and that is that Jerry has done a horrendous job in choosing players AND PAYING players. When you miss on players as much as JJ does, you need to have some bench guys step up and outperform their pay. Ogletree couldve been doing this...instead, by his own admission, he hasnt been focused on football.

If you go by the Landry & Parcells three
year rule, then Ogletree has had enough
time to show what he's got.

My feeling is that Ogletree is buying for
more time this year than maybe the team
was going to give him to prove he's better than the guys they've brought in
to compete for the 3rd WR spot.

I KNOW IT IS HARD WORK BUT HOW DO MEN,WOMEN FEEL WHEN THEY WORK ALL YEAR YOU GET PAID GOOD MONEY TO PLAY PRO FOOTBALL

It's this year or your gone Kevin .,that's why you only were offered a one contract ! Make or break . Losing Robinson mite bite in the behind this year ! Hope not . Cowboys football

Ogletree is waste of cap space. He has been stealing money for three years. We need to develop our rookie receivers and trade Ogletree for a late round pick.

The problem for young persons -- all of them, not just football players -- is that they don't know *how* to focus. They get older. They have some life experiences that teach them how important and rare the opportunities that come along actually are. And they learn that focusing and putting forth the maximum effort -- physically, mentally and emotionally -- are required to fully take advantage of those opportunities. I don't see this as Ogletree 'slacking', just not knowing *how* to be fully engaged. We'll see how it turns out, whether he has achieved 'focus' or not. I certainly hope so; he's clearly a physically talented WR, good hands, a playmaker after the catch. But he's also shown less than optimal knowledge of the offense and, yes, lapses of concentration on the field...

“I haven’t, for a while, had football as my life, my focus,”

I wonder what Ogletree's feelings would if JJ said,

"I haven’t, for a while, had paying Kevin Ogletree as my focus"

I'm sure he'd be screaming bloody murder on how unfair it would be.

He can not be serious. He said that it's a real benefit to be able to sit and listen to coach Robinson and learn. What in the hell has he been doing for the pass 3 years. Just like the other fan said, this loser has been robbing Jerry blind. This is the bigger unsolved mystery of the NFL. How in the hell is this bum keeping him roster spot?

ALL HAIL LENNY THE GOD OF THE DALLAS COWBOYS AND WHERE THEIR MONEY GOES.....HERES THE THING YOU HATE JERRY AND I GET IT,,,,BUT JERRY'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE TILL HE DIES LIKE AL DAVIS. ITS HIS TEAM AND MONEY. GET OVER IT,

L Lenny - sure am glad that you are footing the bill...
The Cowboys gave Ogletree the opportunity, therefore he needs to take advantage of it now or he can kiss his chances goodbye.

So football wasn't this clown's focus? Nice that he has been stealing money the last few years. With the way Jerry overpays some players, the Cowboys can't afford to have any role players/back-ups stealing money. They need to make good use of salary cap space when it comes to the back-ups to offset Jerry's spending mistakes.

I honestly didn't realize he was on the team still. I would say this is a make-or-break year for him. Either he breaks out or is relegated to being a 4th receiver, special-teams journeyman.

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