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Lucky Whitehead hopes weight leads to gains

IRVING, Texas -- A year ago, Lucky Whitehead was just an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic with a cool name.

As he stood in the Dallas Cowboys locker room following a workout last Friday, surrounded by 2016 draft picks, undrafted free agents and tryout players, he was amazed it’s been a year.

“It definitely flew by,” Whitehead said. “It’s a blessing to still be here and still be a part of this team and trying to get better.”

The Whitehead he saw a year ago doesn’t look much like the Whitehead of today.

“I think I’m a lot stronger,” Whitehead said. “I’m working on my lower body more than I have ever been. I’ve learned a lot just as a football player, being in the meeting rooms. I think I’ve grown a lot more.”

Whitehead became the Cowboys’ primary kick and punt returner in 2015. He helped the Cowboys to their only win without Tony Romo with a 46-yard kickoff return against the Washington Redskins that led to Dan Bailey’s game-winning kick.

He caught just six passes for 16 yards, but he made an impact as a runner with 107 yards on 10 carries. He was the team’s fourth leading rusher as the Cowboys found a role for him using jet sweeps.

He played last year at 170-175 pounds. He is now 183 pounds. The added bulk is for two reasons.

“Definitely trying to maintain my weight through the season, because I did run a lot,” Whitehead said. “At the same time, being able to break that first tackle for that big play, that’s the stuff I need to do. I’m definitely seeing a progression from working out.”