Ellis: Ware helped me out

Updated: July 9, 2009, 2:11 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

According to former Cowboys linebacker Greg Ellis, DeMarcus Ware played hide-and-seek with the Dallas coaching staff during games last season to help Ellis get more playing time.

Ellis, who was vocal about his displeasure with his diminished role with the Cowboys last season, said on ESPN 103.3's "Michael Irvin Show" Wednesday that former teammate Ware shared his frustration to the point that Ware would hide from coaches during games so Ellis could play.

"It's a disgrace when DeMarcus Ware comes off the field just so I can get in the game and when the coaches tell him to come on the field, he tries to hide so I can play," Ellis said on Irvin's show. "And you're telling me we're trying to win the Super Bowl?"

Ellis, who had played all of his 11 NFL seasons in Dallas, was released this offseason and subsequently signed with the Oakland Raiders.

Ware, who has one season remaining on his rookie contract, earned his third straight Pro Bowl nod in 2008 thanks to a 20-sack season.

During the interview Wednesday, Irvin asked Ellis to clarify his statement that Ware would take himself out of games.

"On his own. He would say, 'G, come on.' And I would tell him, 'No, DeMarcus, go ahead, man. You're coming up on your contract year. Don't mess that stuff up. Go ahead and do you, and we're just going to do what the coaches, or whoever the powers that be, what they want to do.' "

Ware was asked to react to Ellis' comments on Sirius Radio's "Opening Drive" show Thursday. He didn't dispute Ellis' claims but defended his effort for the Cowboys last season.

"You know, on the concept of hydration, I think I was probably going off the field maybe to get hydrated," he said -- and then laughed. "But I think that everybody at the end of the day got ample amount of time and I went back and looked at a lot of the things, and I, what, played in like 95 percent of the plays? And, you know, maybe sometimes guys rush better against certain guys, so I don't know. I don't know what the deal is, but at the end of the day, I did what I can do to help the team out last year."