Cowboys RB Tony Pollard taking reps at slot receiver

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In efforts to maximize his touches in the 2022 season, Tony Pollard has begun to explore expanding his skillset during the Dallas Cowboys’ OTAs.

Pollard is well aware of his role as the squad’s RB2 behind one of its highest-paid athletes in Ezekiel Elliott, and though he’ll remain in a secondary role on Dallas’ depth chart, that doesn’t mean he can’t get just as many opportunities.

He’s already thrived in the team’s kick returning job, averaging 28.8 yards per return on 17 returns, totaling 489 yards and a solo TD — a 100-yarder in 2021. And as he looks toward increasing his impact this season, Pollard is retooling his receiving arsenal to sharpen his chemistry with Dak Prescott.

“I’m open to anything just being on the field, being able to make the most of my opportunities,” Pollard said following the team’s voluntary OTAs on Thursday, via the Dallas Morning News. “If I have to line up in the slot a little more, whatever it takes, I’m ready to do it.”

Pollard is not new to the receiving ranks, as he split the majority of his college tenure between running back and receiver. He recorded 104 receptions for 1,292 yards and nine TDs during his days at Memphis. 

“You know it’s definitely different, bringing me back to college,” Pollard said regarding an alternate role. “It just makes things a little easier, being out wide, catching the ball, not having to worry about the first line of defense, then the linebackers, then the safeties. Once you’re out wide you really just have one guy to beat, and then it’s off to the races from there.”

Pollard certainly showed off his speedster capabilities last season, posting career-highs in both rushing and receiving in wake of Elliott’s absence due to knee and ankle issues. 

He had 719 yards on 130 rushes, along with two TDs on the ground, while amassing 337 yards on 39 receptions through the air. With 1,056 yards from scrimmage, it was his first campaign in which he broke the 1,000-yard mark.

And the 25-year-old is eager to leave a sizable imprint in both Dallas’ mind, and the rest of the league’s as he enters a contract year.

“I definitely feel like any opportunity I’m given, I’m going to do my best to make the most of it,” he told reporters. “The more I get, the more I can benefit the team.”

“The best is all you can do,” Pollard added. “You’re playing running back, receiver, kick returner, punt returner. It’s just that much harder to replace you.”

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