Full Interview with Greg Ellis
NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- Dallas Cowboys linebacker Greg Ellis has been a good soldier for the Cowboys organization.
Picked eighth overall in the 1998 NFL Draft, Ellis has spent 11 years with the team, recorded 77 sacks, made the Pro Bowl once and, overall, has been a good, solid player for the Cowboys and an even better citizen.
But he has no idea what he's doing next year.
"To be honest with you it's 50/50 and usually I'm not 50/50," Ellis said. "Usually I'm pretty heavy one way or the other, even if it's wrong I'm usually heavy one way or the other. But this situation right here I can see it going either way."
Ellis has one more year on his contract with the Cowboys, but in the NFL that season and the $6.25 million that come with it are not guaranteed.
"Protocal calls for just me in this situation to either do something to lower my cap number, because it's a healthy cap number right now, or you say, 'well Greg, it's been a good run man."" Ellis says. "You know what it is and I won't be mad at Jerry."
It's just that type of uncertainty that Ellis attributes to the problems the Cowboys have had in December since he's been with the organization.
Ellis said former coach Bill Parcells pushed the players hard late in the season, while current coach Wade Phillips doesn't push as hard. Both approaches, Ellis says, have led to December letdowns.
Ellis says the players have been the common denominator -- the players who are uncertain about their future.
"We players love football, we wouldn't be playing, but you have a responsibility to your family, so those contract things come into concerns," Ellis said. "That's typically why owners or GMs don't let guys, or even coaches, they don't let you get to that last year because they want you to know you're either in or you're out.
"They're making their business decisions, which sometimes in my opinion is a negative thing, and in my opinion last year it was a negative thing, when it came to our football season."
Whenever Ellis' career does end, he'll be ready. Just over a month ago Ellis started his own production company, Everlast Productions. The company provides both still photographs and video work; more importantly, Elllis says, it provides memories.
"Memories that last forever, hence that's why Everlast Productions," Ellis said. "My dad died when I was in college and going back to my mom's house now, I don't have a lot of pictures of my dad, and I was like 'man that's messed up, that's sad.'"
If this sounds like another athlete throwing money at a risky venture then you don't know Ellis very well. The man and his money are not easily parted.
"When I buy something, a lot of prayer, a lot of thought's gone into it," Ellis says. "This suit, I'm embarrassed to say, but since we're on the subject, this suit is like 11-years old actually, so yeah, yeah, I'm real thrifty, real thrifty."
That quality will serve Ellis well when his football career ends. When that time comes may depend on how thrifty the Cowboys decide to be going into the 2009 season.