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 Why Eric Kendricks changed his mind and picked Dallas 


FRISCO, Texas – The Cowboys and 49ers have had plenty of battles on the field. And as of late, San Francisco has won the last few, but the Cowboys got one in a different way earlier this week.

Veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks had agreed to terms on a deal with the 49ers on Monday. But a few days later, he changed his mind, picking the Cowboys with the chance to reunite with his former coach Mike Zimmer.

More than that, Kendricks said he expects to play middle linebacker with the Cowboys. To do that, with Zimmer and the players the Cowboys have on the defense all factored into his decision to flip from the 49ers to Dallas.

"I felt like it was a really hard decision," Kendrick said on Friday after signing his one-year deal. "(The 49ers) are an excellent organization and wonderful program they have there. Ultimately, I wanted the opportunity to play MIKE and bet on myself. Especially at this point in my career, I have a lot left to prove. I feel great and I'm moving great. To be able to play MIKE with this defense, and the guys we have on this defense, it was an opportunity I couldn't pass. I'm very happy with this decision."

Kendricks spent last year with the Chargers, but the previous eight in Minnesota under Zimmer, who was the head coach from 2014-21.

"The level of detail and the amount of football that I learned with Zimm was tremendous," Kendricks said. "I feel like I'll never take that for granted and that's why I'm back with him right now. Just being at the facility today, it's all becoming real. I'm very excited to play, it's obviously the sport I grew up playing. Love playing middle linebacker. I'm happy I'm able to be in Coach ZImm's system again. It felt right."

When asked about Zimmer's coaching style, Kendricks said he not only appreciates the way he challenges players, but also mentioned he's challenged back a few times as well.

"Yeah, I feel like me and Zimm have had our times where we've even butted heads," Kendricks said. "Just the fact that I'm back with him shows you that I believe in him and he believes in me and we want to get the job done. Ultimately, playing the best football and winning a championship is our ultimate goal and that's why I'm back with him."

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