When Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones phoned Greg Ellis in late May, it wasn't to ask Ellis what he thought of the Cowboys' new stadium. Jones called to inform Ellis that he no longer was part of the team's plans.
A short while later, the Raiders signed Ellis and installed him as the starting right defensive.
"He was upfront with me as much as he could be," Ellis said of Jones. "He said, 'Greg, we made a couple of draft picks here the last couple of years and then this last year's draft.' He said, 'Well, you probably won't be here for this season right here.' So, I can't do nothing but respect that."
Ellis, 34, has used the slight as motivation. He recorded a sack in Oakland's first game and two against Kansas City on Sunday. He is tied for third in the league in sacks.
Ellis, Dallas' first-round draft pick in 1998, had a history of speaking his mind when it came to playing time and contract status during his Cowboys tenure. However, no one questioned his ability or production.
Hence, it surprised Ellis that he was jettisoned on the heels of an eight-sack season. He had a career-high 12½ in 2007, when he was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year.
"Statistically you can't say, 'Well, he can't do it anymore,'"" Ellis said. "Now, from their point of view, what they showed me, 'OK, he can't do this, he can't do that.' Where they concluded that from, I don't know. I don't see how you can conclude that in two years you get over 20 sacks, I don't see how you say, 'Well, he can't do this, can't do that.' But they made their decision."
And, for that, the Raiders no doubt are thankful. In an intriguing twist, Ellis and the Raiders play at Dallas on Thanksgiving Day.
"We'd prefer that he'd not here after all the incendiary remarks he's made about this organization in recent years," said Raiders senior executive John Herrera. "He has done nothing but rip us, saying that we should torch the building and start over and that we're hard to watch. ... We are the ones who gave him a chance when no one else would after he had been a journeyman his whole career."
This is Gannon's fifth season as an announcer with CBS. He was unavailable for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this notebook.