Lucky Whitehead hopes No. 13 is lucky

IRVING, Texas -- When Lucky Whitehead signed as an undrafted free agent, he was hoping he could get No. 12, but it was quickly pointed out that nobody wears No. 12.

"They said that they retired that number," Whitehead said.

Officially the Dallas Cowboys haven't retired any number, but nobody has worn No. 12 since Roger Staubach retired and nobody ever will.

Instead of No. 12, Whitehead went with No. 13. With a name like Lucky, do you think he would suffer from triskaidekaphobia?

"Not worried about it," Whitehead said. "I'm going to break the trend."

The Cowboys will certainly give him a chance to wear No. 13 in a regular-season game. Wide receiver Anthony Armstrong was the last to wear No. 13 in 2012.

To wear the uniform, Whitehead will have to make his splash in the return game. As the draft was winding down, Whitehead was studying the rosters of a number of teams that expressed interest in him. He made a pre-draft visit to the Cowboys but his decision came down to Dallas and the San Francisco 49ers. The Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, Indianapolis Colts and Cleveland Browns also called.

"I'd seen that Dwayne Harris went to the Giants (as a free agent)," Whitehead said. "He was a huge role in their return game and I'm pretty nice at returning. That's one of my specialties, so I figured I could come here with an opportunity to earn that spot."

At Florida Atlantic, where he wore No. 1, he averaged 24.6 yards per kick return and added a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown against Old Dominion. He caught 76 passes for 706 yards and six touchdowns, which led his team.

He is listed as 5-10, 163 pounds. Harris, who was the Cowboys' top returner in 2013 and '14, is 5-10, 202 pounds. Harris relied on quickness, strength to break tackles and vision on his returns. Whitehead is more of a speed returner.

As a receiver, the Cowboys have used Whitehead exclusively in the slot behind Cole Beasley, who was another reason why Whitehead signed with the Cowboys. Beasley, 5-8, 180 pounds, made the Cowboys as an undrafted receiver in 2012.

"They know how to use smaller receivers," Whitehead said. "They get the ball around. Beasley had a great year. It's great if I make the team to be able to watch him or when camp starts and just to be around the guys I'm with now, learning things and the coaching tips, it's been fun."

So too is the number. When somebody made the connection between his name and his number, Whitehead was told he must have a good sense of humor.

"It's kind of funny," he said. "I'm going to embrace it."