Release of six-time Pro Bowl DL Gerald McCoy presents opportunity for Ottawa’s Neville Gallimore

Photo courtesy: Dallas Cowboys

A Canadian rookie in the NFL may receive an expanded role in 2020 following the release of a key veteran.

Gerald McCoy tore a tendon in his right arm during the Cowboys’ first padded practice of training camp on Monday afternoon. An MRI confirmed the damage and he will soon undergo surgery, ending his season. The club has since released on Tuesday via injury waiver.

McCoy was the third overall selection in the 2010 NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 32-year-old made six consecutive Pro Bowls (2012-2017) over nine years with the team, recording 220 tackles and 54.5 sacks.

The six-foot-four, 300-pound defensive tackle spent last year with Carolina before signing a three-year, $18-million contract with the Cowboys this past off-season. He was expected to start for the team along the interior of the defensive line.

This could mean an opportunity for Neville Gallimore to take on an expanded role with Dallas as a rookie. The Ottawa native was a third-round draft choice of the team in April and has the size fill McCoy’s spot at six-foot-two and 305 pounds. Coincidentally, both players are products of Oklahoma University.

Antwaun Woods is the incumbent starter at nose tackle, while free agent acquisition Dontari Poe will likely start beside him. Trysten Hill should rotate at both positions, though the 2019 second-round pick had a disappointing rookie season, recording five tackles in seven games. Nine-year veteran Tyrone Crawford — a native of Windsor — is also in the mix, though he’s currently injured.

Gallimore would be the next man in the rotation, which could mean he sees a lot of action in 2020. He’s stout in the run game but also possesses the quickness required to rush the passer. Watching him over the past few years, I fell in love with Gallimore’s high motor — the guy never stops moving.

Gallimore produced elite numbers at the NFL combine, posting 23 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and completing the 40-yard dash in 4.79 seconds. He became a full-time starter with the Sooners in his junior season and produced 79 tackles with seven sacks over the 2018 and 2019 seasons.