OXNARD, Calif. (AP) -Consider the contrasts for Greg Ellis last season, from being disgruntled and injured in training camp to being a Pro Bowl player for the first time.
After missing all of the Dallas Cowboys' training camp and their first three games of the season while recovering from an Achilles' tendon injury, Ellis had a career-high 12 1/2 sacks. The defensive end-turned-linebacker was also the NFL's comeback player of the year.
But it's a new season, with a new set of changing emotions for Ellis in his 11th Cowboys camp, more than any other current player.
Ellis started to wonder again this summer what the Cowboys planned for him when Anthony Spencer, a first-round pick in 2007, started getting some of Ellis' snaps with the first-team defense during offseason workouts. Ellis even skipped a few sessions before sitting down with coach Wade Phillips and defensive coordinator Brian Stewart.
``Antennas go up and say, 'Is this done to really rest me or to replace me?''' Ellis said. ``It is what it is right now, and Wade has told me that he wants me here and that's what we're going to do.''
Stewart has said he wants to keep Ellis ``as fresh as possible.''
Even though Spencer is already getting some of those snaps in camp, Ellis, the eighth overall pick in 1998, insists now he's happy and that there are no problems.
``Wade has a plan. That's what he told me, and I believe in it,'' Ellis said, without elaborating. ``There's no problem.''
This is only the third season as a linebacker for Ellis, who turns 33 next month. He's still learning to play off the line and cover receivers.
``I'm a lot more comfortable in it now, but it's still a work in process, mainly in coverages,'' Ellis said. ``When I'm dropping in coverage, there are still a lot of little things I have to pick up.''
Ellis had never played in a three-man defensive front until 2005, when Bill Parcells changed the Cowboys out of their usual 4-3 sets. Ellis had eight sacks, but Parcells moved Ellis to linebacker after that season.
When the Cowboys were last in California for camp two years ago, Ellis was adjusting to not only a new defense, but a new position. He then tore his Achilles' tendon halfway through his first season as a linebacker.
When Ellis felt pain in his surgically repaired foot while warming up for the first practice of training camp last year, he came off the field. He was also disgruntled because owner Jerry Jones wouldn't restructure his contract to protect him in case of further injury. Ellis even considered retirement.
A year later, Ellis still wants to be on the field and play as much as possible. He hopes to be more than a situational pass rusher.
``I still want to play and want to be a part of this thing,'' said Ellis, sweat pouring off his forehead and into the overgrown hair on his face after a camp workout. ``Wade has let me know, `Greg, we want you here. The plan is not to just phase you out.' So that's what we're going off of.''

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