Wednesday Notes: Shanahan Once Recruited Romo

Also not practicing on Wednesday were outside linebacker Greg Ellis, wide receiver Jamaica Rector (knee), cornerback Quincy Butler (strained leg muscle) and rookie offensive lineman Doug Free (knee).

"I thought I would be accustomed to it, coming back," Ekuban said. "But man, you never get used to this. I think I lost 10 pounds today. We should be all right for Saturday."

Position: Linebacker Height/Weight: 6-4, 257
Age: 25
College: Baylor
NFL Exp: First-year veteran
How Acquired: FA for '07
Hometown: Wichita Falls, Texas

Fitting In: With less than a week left at training camp in San Antonio, the Cowboys signed linebacker Khari Long, adding to the already long list at the position. Originally a sixth-round pick of Kansas City in 2005, Long didn't get enough playing time to keep him there. Recently released by the Bears, Long is now making a transition familiar to Cowboys players DeMarcus Ware, Greg Ellis and Junior Glymph - from defensive end to linebacker.
So Far: Long is last in line on the depth chart, behind even first-year player John Saldi, so his reps are limited. The focus for him is learning the footwork and corrections of his new position, something he's putting more emphasis on than making friends in the locker room.
Best Asset: Long runs surprisingly well for a 257-pound former defensive end.
You Should Know: He's an aspiring fisherman. Although Long has only gotten to go two or three times, he wants to get the inside scoop on popular fishing spots in the Dallas area.
A Mouthful: On practicing against Denver: "This is the first time I've had somebody else come in and practiced against them. It felt pretty good, we got to see their tempo and their speed and how they run their stunts at lot faster than we've been practicing, but its good looks for both of us." -Jana Wallis

Hump Back

Cowboys fullback Oliver Hoyte had a new look for Wednesday's practices against the Broncos, and a more menacing one to say the least.

The second-year fullback was sporting one of those high-collar shoulder pads, where an extra pad rides up on the back of his neck, giving the look of a Brahma bull. Hoyte said he used the collar when he last had played fullback in high school.

"Just some added padding," he said.

Hoyte, the former linebacker from North Carolina State, currently is working with the first-team offense, trying to hold off rookie Deon Anderson and third-year fullback Lousaka Polite for the starting job. And so far, so good.

"It's pretty amazing to me he came in and had no experience in pro football," Phillips said of Hoyte's mid-season conversion last year from linebacker to fullback. "This year, he's learned to run routes pretty well. He's a willing blocker. I think he's coming along real well and he has a chance to be a real solid fullback for us."

--Mickey Spagnola

Turn Back the Clock

The Cowboys certainly are turning back the clock this training camp. One day Ron Springs and Everson Walls are at Valley Ranch, and the next Roger Staubach and a host of others.

Staubach showed up at the morning practice, saying he needed to meet with owner Jerry Jones over the 2011 Super Bowl being held at the Cowboys new stadium in Arlington, Texas.

But that wasn't the end of the stream of former players. At the two practices on Wednesday were the likes of Lee Roy Jordan, Nate Newton, Mike Renfro, Jay Saldi, Rocket Ismail, Tony Casillas and Cornell Green, who is now a scout for the Denver Broncos. Also on hand was long-time NFL announcer Pat Summerall.

Many of the players were here in a media capacity, and Saldi was here in a fatherly capacity. His son John is an outside linebacker on the Cowboys' 85-man roster.

--Mickey Spagnola

Remembering Darrent

Shanahan's last visit to the Metroplex was a difficult one - for him and the entire Broncos organization.

Shanahan and his team traveled to Fort Worth this past January to attend the funeral of cornerback Darrent Williams, who was killed in a drive-by shooting on New Year's Day.

Eight months later, Shanahan said his team is coping with the loss of Williams, a Fort Worth native who starred at O.D. Wyatt High School.

"Very well, as good as possible under the circumstances," Shanahan said of his team's frame of mind. "We're going to embrace his memory as much as we can and at the same time go about our business."

Short Shots

Cowboys safety Ken Hamlin has decided to go back to the helmet style he was wearing last year in Seattle, the Revolution model from Riddell rather than the VSR-4 he had been wearing with the Cowboys in the off-season and for the first part of training camp. The Revolution model was designed to specifically help prevent concussions, providing added protection for the jaw area and more padding. Hamlin returned this week after missing a week with was a mild concussion suffered in practice . . . In a calendar oddity, the Cowboys had three players celebrating birthdays on Tuesday - Roy Williams (27), Greg Ellis (32), Julius Jones (26) . . . And then there is 35-year-old corner Aaron Glenn, the ageless one who went up in team drill to intercept a pass, just snatching it high in the air away from a Broncos receiver.

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