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CeeDee Lamb on stepping into No. 1 role: 'I've been ready'

5/26/2022 3:33:43 PM
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For the first time in his career, CeeDee Lamb will enter a season as the Cowboys No. 1 receiver. One of Prescott's previous locker neighbors, four-time Pro Bowler Amari Cooper, was traded to Browns on the first day of the new league year in March, creating roughly $16 million in salary cap space.

Lamb's first career Pro Bowl season probably made the Cooper decision a little easier for Dallas. He posted a team- and career-high 79 catches for 1,102 yards and eight touchdowns in 2021.

Since arriving in 2020 as the 17th overall draft pick, Lamb has posted 2,037 receiving yards -- the second most by a Cowboys receiver through his first two seasons. Only Hall of Famer Bob Hayes had more (2,235 from 1965-66).

The 23-year-old Lamb still has plenty of room to grow -- literally and figuratively, Rob Phillips of the team's official website reports.

"This is a great opportunity for him personally," Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think just the way we've established the offense, particularly in the passing game, the ability for those guys to play different positions, to create matchups and make it harder on the defense to double you and those type of things -- my point is, playing in the slot a lot last year and now playing the flanker position (where Cooper played).

"And we understand his rise in Year 3 that he's going to get a lot more attention from the defense. But he's doing all of the little things that are needed to get him ready to be the No. 1 guy."

It's a role Lamb says he's ready for.

"I've been ready," he said. "That's just me and my competitiveness. That's in my nature. It's kind of how we grew up playing football. I'm always ready for my name to be called."

"It's a dream that I've always wanted to live and now that I'm actually living it, I feel like it's my opportunity to fulfill it. So I'm looking at it as an opportunity."

Lamb still stays in touch with Cooper -- "That's my guy," he said -- and embraces the added role of leadership that Cooper had in the past.

As he moves into a more featured role on offense, Lamb believes consistency is one of the best examples of leadership he can provide the receiver room and the entire team.

"Most importantly just stepping up regardless of any situation – first down, second down, just always being that guy that everyone can count on," he said. "I want to be that guy."

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