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After 11 seasons, Dallas Cowboys release linebacker Greg Ellis

12:55 AM CDT on Wednesday, June 3, 2009

By TODD ARCHER / The Dallas Morning News
tarcher@dallasnews.com

IRVING – Flozell Adams is now the longest-tenured Cowboy.

The Cowboys made it official Tuesday, releasing linebacker Greg Ellis, the team's first-round draft pick in 1998. Adams was a second-round pick that year.

A week ago, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones signaled the end of Ellis' time in Dallas when he said the linebacker was free to seek a trade. Because of Ellis' $4.15 million base salary and $1.5 million completion bonus, as well as the belief that he would be cut soon, a trade was not likely.

Ellis' agent, James D. Williams, said he heard from three teams Tuesday but would not divulge the names. Ellis will turn 34 in August.

"Greg is appreciative of the time he spent in Dallas and the many good years he had there," Williams said.

"The organization treated him very well in spite of the times that we had to deal with the business side. Dallas is home for him, and we understand everything must come to an end in this business."

The Cowboys barred Ellis from participating in the organized team activity workouts that started three weeks ago. Ellis continued to check in every day at the team's facility because he had to take part in the off-season program to earn the completion bonus.

Had Ellis suffered a season-ending injury during the OTAs, the Cowboys would have owed him his full salary. Now they are on the hook for $1.5 million at the most and possibly less.

If Ellis signs for less than $1.5 million with another team, the Cowboys must make up the difference.

In 11 seasons with the Cowboys, Ellis had 77 sacks, eighth in franchise history. The Cowboys will have Anthony Spencer, their first-round pick in 2007, as the starter opposite DeMarcus Ware. Rookies Victor Butler and Brandon Williams will compete for the third linebacker spot.

"The future is bright for Greg," Williams said. "The good thing is he can play in any system now for the most part."

Briefly: The Cowboys nearly had to take Tuesday's OTA session to Coppell High School's indoor facility because of rain but were able to practice at Standridge Stadium after the bad weather passed. With more rain in the forecast, media availability is scheduled for Thursday.

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