Sports Outside the Beltway

Greg Ellis Fears Spencer Pick Means Cowboys Days Over

For the second straight offseason, Greg Ellis is worried about his status with the Cowboys.

The NFL Draft wasn’t but a few days old when a real estate agent rang at Greg Ellis’ house to hand-deliver his business card. “This was not some generic thing — the guy came to my house,” the Cowboys linebacker said. “It’s the next step. Everybody’s assuming I’m gone.”

For the second consecutive off-season, Ellis finds his status with the Cowboys as fragile. With the Cowboys selecting Purdue linebacker Anthony Spencer in the first round of the 2007 draft, Ellis sees his time with the Cowboys as potentially over.

And as much as he’s tried to avoid the discussion since Saturday, he spoke about it Wednesday afternoon.
“Who wouldn’t be frustrated?” asked Ellis, 32. “I’m keeping my cool and my composure. But it’s hard not to be frustrated when they constantly move you around, and thank God you are able to play [a new position, linebacker]. Now, they do it to you again.” Ellis said he is not at the point of requesting a trade, a release or an extension. He wants to talk to coach Wade Phillips, and owner/general manager Jerry Jones before he makes a decision about his future. He hopes to do it before the start of the first minicamp May 12.

When Ellis saw the Cowboys pass on Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn in the draft, he agreed with the commitment that made to Tony Romo, and the future. The team’s next move, however, said something about himself. “Jerry is exactly correct: [Quinn] would have been a steal, and it shows how much confidence they have in Romo,” said Ellis, who added that his recovery from a torn Achilles’ tendon suffered in November is on schedule. “Then you get to me, and they draft a guy for my position. It’s there in your face.”

Jones and Phillips said over the weekend that Spencer’s arrival does not translate into an Ellis demotion or release; that in Phillips’ 3-4 defense, Ellis will have a prominent role rushing quarterbacks.

If he’s healthy, there’s no way the Cowboys dump Ellis. He was incredibly productive last year and he’s signed for two more years to what, in NFL dollars at least, is a very affordable contract.

I can understand his feelings being hurt, though. Indeed, I was puzzled by the Spencer pick given the number of other needs on the team and the investment of so many other recent 1st and 2nd round picks on pass rushers. But I believe Phillips when he says “you can never have enough” of those guys for his scheme.

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