On Second Thought, Maybe the Chiefs Shouldn't Sign Greg Ellis

Back on May 25th of this year, Connerman made an argument for the Chiefs to pick up the soon-to-be-cut Greg Ellis.  He contended that his versatility and experience in the 3-4 and 4-3 made him an intriguing candidate for the Kansas City Chiefs.  His argument made me a believer that Ellis could and should help the Chiefs in 2009.

Connerman cited concerns over whether Ellis would want to come to the Chiefs, but recognized the obvious benefit he could have to the team.

While I don't disagree with his core argument, that Ellis could help this team, I do not think we A) have a shot at signing him or B) would want to sign him.  While listening to NFL Sirius Satellite Radio, I heard Ross Tucker (also of Sports Illustrated) argue that the Chiefs wouldn't be interested in Ellis largely because of his tendency to openly speak his mind.  It's not the "Patriot Way", Tucker said, making the reference to GM Scott Pioli.

Upon further review, Tucker's right.  Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas, two other veteran linebackers signed this offseason, don't have near the track record of "openly speaking their mind" that Ellis does.

I did a little digging and found more than a few references to this tendency.  It appears it became an annual thing for him to complain about his contract, playing time or both.  Not to mention the stink he made when Bill Parcells came into town and switched him for defensive end to outside linebacker.

Here are a few comments and observations by not only Ellis but by many of those who covered him and the Cowboys.

The Dallas Observer noted these annual complaints.

Ellis' public complaints about his role or his contract became a nuisance, even a distraction. His departure sends another positive message this off-season.

If his release is a positive in the Cowboys' locker room, do you think the Chiefs would take him?  I certainly don't.  

What about when the Cowboys drafted Anthony Spencer in the first round?

Seems poor-poor-pitiful Greg doesn't like that Anthony Spencer gets more snaps. Thinks he's mis-used, under-utilized and general prevented from being an All-Pro by the Cowboys' meanie coaching staff.

And another one.

The other day on 105.3 The Fan he was commencing his annual off-season bitch-fest. In recent years he's complained about his contract, the team's commitment, his position, his role and his everything other than the fact that he's been around forever and never won diddly-poo.

Or this one from a Cowboys blog.

Honestly, I am weary of hearing and reading about what a "good guy" Greg Ellis is, how he is a leader in the locker room, a team guy, a good soldier. The past three - four off-seasons have shown us a side of this guy that is annoying at best and destructive at worst.

Or when he told the media Roy Williams' concerns in the defense.

Roy told me in training camp, he said, ‘Greg this defense does not fit me. I don't fit in well with this defense at all. Obviously, it came to be true just like he said. He doesn't fit what's going on here in Dallas right now. Maybe this year, if they decide to keep him for this season Wade and them would kind of adjust some things to fit him better.

Isn't this something that should be kept in the locker room?  What about publicly complaining about the direction of the team under the head coach?

Ellis, a perennial pessimist, doesn't see drastic changes coming to Dallas. He pointed out that Wade Phillips would return, so the direction wouldn't change much.

***

While his physical tools may help the Chiefs, we've learned this offseason that the mental tools are just as important when configuring this team.

When players of Greg Ellis' stature become available this late into free agency, we often see only the positives.  We'll allow ourselves to look past certain things, whether intentional or not, to make a case for a player because talent is a premium on the free agent market in June.

Ellis appears to have the tools to help this team in the short term but when other factors are considered, he probably isn't the right choice for the Chiefs in 2009.

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