June 14, 2024

FRISCO, Texas — Alongside Mike Zimmer and Ezekiel Elliott, Greg Ellis is making a return to the Dallas Cowboys in 2024. The former eighth-overall pick and Pro Bowl defensive lineman has fought his way into an NFL coaching role, rejoining the team that drafted him and the coordinator who once coached him.

Ellis’s experience uniquely positions him to empathize with the incoming 2024 rookie class, particularly top draft picks. He will be responsible for developing players like defensive end Marshawn Kneeland. “I can definitely relate to the pressure they’re feeling,” Ellis said. “It’s a dream come true to have played here and now to coach here.”

Ellis prioritized his family before embarking on his coaching career, waiting until his children were older before diving into coaching. His initial coaching role was as head coach at Texas College in Tyler, Texas, over two hours from his home. He then moved to Southwestern Assemblies of God (SAGU) in Waxahachie, Texas, one hour away. During this time, Ellis took on all responsibilities, even washing team uniforms.

Ellis’s perseverance mirrors his playing career, where he returned from a ruptured Achilles to earn a Pro Bowl nod and NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2007. His dedication and character make him a valuable leader and mentor on defense.

“When people say, ‘He’s only here because he played for the Cowboys,’ I tell them I’ve gone through a lot to get here,” Ellis said. “I started from the ground level, driving two hours every day and doing the laundry. It was a lot of work.”

Mike Zimmer: Ezekiel Elliott reminds him of Emmitt Smith and other  similarities to 1990s Cowboys

Now back in Dallas, Ellis aims to replicate his past success with Zimmer in a new capacity. “The biggest change is me being a coach and not playing for him,” Ellis remarked. He appreciates Zimmer’s teaching and holds him in high regard. “I can’t think of a better coach for me to be under.”

Ellis, along with Jeff Zgonina, the new defensive line coach, is tasked with developing players like Marshawn Kneeland and former first-round pick Mazi Smith. The pressure is on both the players and the coaching staff to succeed in the upcoming season. However, Ellis is no stranger to pressure and is ready to prove he is the right man for the job.

The only stains Ellis needs to help remove now are on the Cowboys’ recent postseason record, the most stubborn ones of all.

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