Tuesday, July 14, 1998
Cowboys sign No. 1 pick Ellis; cut Sherman
By DENNE H. FREEMAN AP Sports Writer
IRVING, Texas (AP) - The Dallas Cowboys signed their top draft
pick, gave tight end Eric Bjornson a two-year contract and cut
running back Sherman Williams on Monday in transactions before
training camp started.
Defensive end Greg Ellis of North Carolina, the No. 8 pick
in the NFL draft, signed a six-year, $11.5 million contract that
included a bonus check of $5.4 million.
Ellis is already slotted as a starter because veteran Tony
Tolbert was cut because of his bad knees.
"It was important to get Greg into camp the very first
day," said owner Jerry Jones. "He needs time to get
Ellis ordered his agent, Butch Williams, to get the contract
done by the time camp started on Wednesday in Wichita Falls.
"Greg took away all my leverage," Williams said.
"But we're happy with the contract."
Ellis said, "I'll be working with the first unit right
away and I needed to be there when camp opened. I'm a rookie
in a new system I know nothing about in a new league."
Bjornson signed a two-year deal for $1.2 million that included
a bonus of $368,000. He will count $400,000 against the Cowboys
salary cap this year.
Williams, a second-round draft pick in 1995 out of Alabama,
became expendable when the Cowboys got free agent Chris Warren,
who played with Seattle.
Williams rushed 121 times for 468 yards and scored two touchdowns
"We are happy with where we are at running back with
Emmitt (Smith) and Chris Warren," Jones said.
The Cowboys also released free agent cornerback Ron Bailey
Still without deals were second round tackle Flozell Adams
and fifth round linebacker Darren Hambrick.
Dallas failed to invite to camp return specialist Herschel
Walker and special teams star Bill Bates, who has played for
the Cowboys for 15 years.
Bates said Monday it was "discomforting" to not
be a part of the Cowboys plans as a player, but he wouldn't mind
helping out as an assistant coach.
"It looks like the decision has been made," Bates
said. "It's a young man's game. It's not what did you do
for me yesterday. It's what you did today. That's the nature
of the game. I would love to coach."
The veteran minimum salary cap is now $375,000 and Bates said
"that didn't help any. Sometimes it's a financial decision."
Jones said an announcement on Bates' status would be made
on Wednesday in Wichita Falls.
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AP, KRT, The Abilene Reporter-News
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