Cowboys WR Michael Gallup plans 'to take it up a notch' replacing Amari Cooper

The Dallas Cowboys ostensibly chose to keep Michael Gallup at $11.5 million per season over Amari Cooper at $20 million per season, trading the latter to Cleveland soon after inking the former to a new contract. But the team's choice of Gallup over Cooper didn't sully the relationship between the former teammates.

"I love Amari Cooper," Gallup said Thursday, via Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "He taught me so many things. I wish him the best. He is a great player and great friend. He was the first one who hit me up when I got the new deal and he let me know I am that dude. He's a lifelong friend to me."

Gallup noted that Cooper was the first person to reach out after he signed his new deal, even knowing it likely meant the end to Cooper's run in Dallas.

The 26-year-old Gallup is rehabbing an ACL tear suffered in Week 17. When he gets back on the field, Gallup knows he must prove the Cowboys made the right decision.

"When I get back out there, you got to take it up a notch," Gallup said. "They put all their faith in me, so I've got to put the work into the team, got to be a leader vocally, got to be a leader physically on the field."

Gallup doesn't have a timetable for return from his injury at this stage.

"As soon as possible," he said. "Right now, it's me working out, upper body, getting in the pool, on the bike, standing on one leg as [long] I can. You want to do it the right way."

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