If Ellis was hoping to contribute, he would have to do so as a solid security, a position he had never played before.
“When I found out I had to play it safe I said, ‘OK, well, I’ve never played it before, but I know who played it really well, as well as I didn’t. ‘I’ve never seen one in my life, and that’s State Teammate and All-Pro with Chicago) Todd Bell, ”said Ellis. “‘I’m going to try to emulate and play the role like Todd Bell played the three years I saw him in college.’
“Todd wasn’t afraid of anything. He attacked all men, no matter how tall they were. And that’s how I wanted to play. I wanted to play him like Todd.”
Early in training camp, Ellis played well enough to move up the depths chart and be Randy Logan’s replacement. That, however, didn’t necessarily mean there would be a lock to stay there.
“Coach Bruney came to me and told me my name had appeared the day before at a meeting and that they considered me one of the people who would be released,” Ellis said. “He said to me, ‘I want you to knock out everyone on the pitch when you’re out there today. Except you don’t touch Wilbert Montgomery.’ So he gave me the green light.
“But I didn’t touch anyone in training that day. The opportunity didn’t come up. I wasn’t going to just go out there and try to hurt my teammates just to get a position. never would. But I knew what he meant. If an opportunity presented itself, lay wood and show them one of the reasons we wanted you here. But that didn’t happen. didn’t hit Wilbert, but it worked anyway.
By 1984, Logan had concluded his 11-year career with the Eagles, and Ellis, in his fourth season, became the security’s starting fort. He thought that being a student of the game would help make the transition smoother, and he was right.
Tied for second in the NFC with seven interceptions, it was the most by an Eagles defensive back as Herm Edwards had the same number of picks six seasons earlier.
“I really wanted to know what everyone was supposed to do because the more I knew about what everyone was supposed to do in defense then you had a better chance of putting yourself in a better position. better chance of helping someone elsewhere too, ”says Ellis.
“So I became a student of the game and I think it helped me a lot. In the pros you don’t get the chance to make a lot of mistakes. A game, a step, can cost you a game, can cost your team a championship. One mistake can cost you a career. “
Calling Phoenix home, Ellis and his wife, Darice, who works in the city’s Sustainability Office, have two grown children – Jamison and Gabrielle – and a granddaughter, Ava.
He is the president of games and content for Pro Sports Legacy (PSL).
“It’s a digital media and entertainment company focused on creating original digital content,” Ellis said. “One division of PSL is esports. I was really excited about the esports industry when I first saw myself in a video game. Another division creates original content sports documentaries, which we call iRemember. Each player can tell their own story from their perspective for digital consumption. And the memory part of iRemember is that I want guys to tell their stories while they remember because there are guys out there. who have problems, who struggle. For a guy to tell his own story, I think is very inspiring. “