There is something in the water in Dallas when it comes to NFL undrafted free agents. Tony Romo and Miles Austin, who knew? Before them there was Nate Newton, Dan Reeves, Bill Bates, Everson Walls, Cliff Harris, and Drew Pearson. And these names don’t even take into account players now starting in the NFL who signed with Dallas as free-agents but were eventually signed away by other teams.
The Dallas Cowboys have done a phenomenal job, historically, of signing undrafted free agents who can play. You can add wide receiver Kevin Ogletree to that list after last night’s dominating performance in the 2012 NFL season opener.
Undrafted in 2009 following his junior season for the Virginia Cavaliers, Kevin signed with the Cowboys immediately after the draft. He caught seven passes as a rookie in 2009 but spent all of 2010 inactive and a toe injury forced him to injured reserve for the entirety of 2011. Most experts had the team cutting Kevin before the season started.
No one was expecting much from him despite the job he did this preseason to secure the 3rd receiver spot for this year’s Cowboys. Someone might want to revisit those expectations after Kevin Ogletree lit up the New York Giants’ vaunted defense Wednesday night with 8 catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
Needless to say more than the 3% of NFL fantasy football teams that owned Kevin (none had him starting) will be placing the Cowboys young receiver into their starting rotation next week.
More remarkable than his explosion last night is the inspiration and person for which Kevin competes – his brother Calvin.
Calvin was on-hand at last night’s game. Calvin, who still lives in Queens, was shot in the head in January, and still recovering from the attack. He spent numerous months in a coma following the shooting but as Kevin shares, “he’s doing awesome now and continues to inspire me.” It was Calvin’s determination to survive and recover – to compete for his life – that Kevin says forced himself to “dig deep and find out what I want to be.” In fact, the “C” and “O” Kevin made after scoring his first career touchdown Wednesday was a tribute to his brother Calvin.
A brother’s bond is one of the most powerful things there is. As with Kevin and Calvin, it inspires survival in one, NFL stardom in another. It’s only week one, but Kevin Ogletree is ready to compete for his brother all season long.