Cable, Raiders envision regular role for Ellis at defensive end

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders expect to get more out of new defensive end Greg Ellis than just the pass-rush specialist he was in 11 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.

Ellis, who signed with the Raiders on Monday after being released by the Cowboys earlier this month, recorded 20.5 sacks in a part-time role the past two seasons. Oakland envisions the 33-year-old Ellis as the everydown player he was earlier in his career.

Career Statistics
Tackles: 365

Sacks: 77

INTs: 4

"I think he can be," Raiders coach Tom Cable said Wednesday. "You look at the film and he's been doing that, albeit in a different position. This is a guy you would rely on to come in and compete to be a starter and all that. He's got so much left in terms of where he's at physically, in terms of his body, his production, so (it's) just a positive for our team."

Ellis played outside linebacker the last two seasons in Dallas' 3-4 system, but he's listed at defensive end on the Raiders' roster. That is the position he played while with the Cowboys before being moved by former coach Bill Parcells at the end of the 2006 season.

Oakland already has a two-time Pro Bowl left defensive end in Derrick Burgess, but Burgess wasn't at Wednesday's practice. He hasn't attended any of the Raiders' offseason workouts except for a brief appearance at a mandatory minicamp in May when he was sidelined due to an upset stomach.

Burgess has also been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, but the Raiders insist the signing of Ellis is not related to that situation.

"I don't think it has anything to do with it at this point," Cable said. "This was just let's make our team better and here's the next opportunity to do that."

Ellis didn't speak to reporters Wednesday. He was escorted off the practice field by a member of the Raiders' public relations staff.

The NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2007 when he garnered his only Pro Bowl selection, Ellis had been at odds with the Cowboys for several years. He was finally released by the team on June 2 in a move Dallas owner Jerry Jones said was based more on performance than pay.

Ellis, who was scheduled to earn $5.6 million in salary and bonuses from the Cowboys in 2009, drew interest from several teams before agreeing to a three-year deal with Oakland.

"It came about pretty quick last week, and once it got in motion, I think this was the place he wanted to be," Cable said. "What we're doing defensively, it fits him. It makes our team better."

Ellis has had at least 7.5 sacks in seven of his 11 NFL seasons and has started all but six of the 162 games he has played in during his career.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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