Everson Griffen Tracks Down Ezekiel Elliott in Cowboys Practice Debut [LOOK]

Everson Griffen

Getty Everson Griffen

To use his verbiage, Everson Griffen needed to crawl before he walked with the Dallas Cowboys. On Sunday, he graduated to running.

The former Pro Bowl defensive end was worked into team drills at training camp for the first time. Griffen, who signed a one-year deal on Aug. 16, participated in both 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 exercises as Dallas returned from a day off.

The Dallas Morning News snapped the following photo of the new No. 97 chasing down running back Ezekiel Elliott.

The Cowboys, careful to avoid a repeat Gerald McCoy disaster, have eased in Griffen at a glacial pace, limiting him to individual training. And although in agreement with the club’s handling, Griffen had boasted he’s “ready” and chomping at the bit to expand his practice repertoire.

As of now, the ex-Vikings star is considered the tentative starter at right defensive end, replacing McCoy. He may find himself in a rotation as the Cowboys also will look to get Aldon Smith, Tyrone Crawford, and rookie Bradlee Anae pass-rushing opportunities opposite DeMarcus Lawrence.

“A baby has to crawl and roll before he walks. I’m not trying to come in and think I know it all,” Griffen said last week, via The Athletic. “I’m listening and learning as well. I’m a show-you better than a tell-you. Whatever they need from me, I’m gonna do at a high level.”

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Griffen Had Secretive Reason to Join ‘Favorite Team’

The 32-year-old was born and raised in Arizona, attended college at USC, and spent his first decade in the NFL in Minnesota. He had zero affiliation to Dallas or the Cowboys prior to his acquisition. Except for a single — but fateful — formative link.

“It was my favorite football team growing up. You know, Emmitt Smith,” Griffen said last Thursday, explaining his decision to join the Cowboys. “People actually don’t know, I’m named after [legendary Dallas safety] Everson Walls. He was number 24 here. I think he played safety, linebacker, something like that. They’ve always been my favorite team.”

Nostalgia aside, Griffen made clear his rationale for choosing Dallas over the likes of other Super Bowl contenders in Seattle or Green Bay, both of whom expressed interest following his Vikings departure. He’s admittedly chasing the ever-elusive ring — and the Cowboys, he believes, are the club to scratch that itch.

“I look at the pieces they’ve got here with Dak, Coop, Lamb, Mike, so I think they have the weapons. Zeke, offensive line, all around,” he said. “The weapons are put in place and it’s up to the players and the coaches to go out there on Sundays and win the games.

“But on the defensive side, we’re stacked: D-Law, Aldon, me. We’ve got a lot of good guys on that side of the ball. We’re just excited to play football and excited to win. That’s our main objective is to win here.”

Anae Gets to QB

Among the standouts of camp has been fifth-round rookie DE Bradlee Anae, whose motor never idles. The Utah product is consistently buzzing around the football, often beating the Cowboys’ offensive tackles off the edge. More of the same Sunday …

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL