From USFL to the Pro Bowl: Dallas Cowboys' KaVontae Turpin honored by NFL
Former USFL MVP KaVontae Turpin, who went on to dazzle the NFL as a Dallas Cowboys kick returner, has been named to the Pro Bowl.
KaVontae Turpin has had a fascinating journey through professional football. Now, the former USFL MVP can add another title to his résumé — NFL Pro Bowler.
The dangerous kick/punt returner was among seven Dallas Cowboys named to the NFC's Pro Bowl squad when rosters were announced on Wednesday. He is the first player in Cowboys history to be named to the Pro Bowl as a returner.
The Pro Bowl will be a bit different this season, as the actual game will be replaced by the "Pro Bowl Games," a variety of football skills challenges that will take place at Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium on Feb. 5.
As for Turpin, the honor is a fitting capper for a long year of football that started in the spring when he was drafted by the USFL's New Jersey Generals.
He would go on to lead the USFL with 540 receiving yards across 10 games and top the Generals with four receiving touchdowns. The speedster also showcased his talents on the ground, carrying the ball 23 times for 129 yards and one score.
Turpin also returned 12 punts for the Generals, averaging 15.3 yards per attempt and scoring another touchdown.
He signed with the Cowboys on July 28 and made a big splash in an August preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers, when he became the first player in nine seasons to have kickoff and punt return touchdowns in the same game.
"Obviously, he had a very successful run there with the USFL, but really from the first day of practice, I mean, he came in and I was really impressed with the way he picked up the receiver play and the language," Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said at the time. "But you can see he’s dynamic in the return game. Two excellent big plays set the tempo."
Turpin's skill in the return game helped him make the Cowboys roster. He currently is averaging 11.9 yards per punt return, and his four returns of 20-plus yards trails only Marcus Jones and Trent Taylor, who each have five.
Turpin is the only player in the NFL with both a punt return and kickoff return of 50-plus yards,
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