Former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Ellis was the keynote speaker at the annual East Texas Kickoff Luncheon on Wednesday, August 20, at the Harvey Hall Convention Center in Tyler, Texas. During his speech he addressed a capacity crowd of representatives from over 40 East Texas high schools about the importance of the lives of youth.
“Sports are responsible for saving lives,” said Ellis. “Kids are forced to maintain grade point averages if they want to participate in sports and other activities. I like groups that support youth activities. If you don’t support youth programs, it will set a lot of the kids up for failure. If there’s no activities provided for them to do, it’s like the old country saying: ‘The idle mind is the devil’s workshop.'”
Ellis also shared several stories with the audience about the importance of determination, motivation, and inspiration in high school sports, and spoke about the importance of maximizing on opportunities when they knock, and not holding back.
“I can’t tell you when opportunities are going to come,” said Ellis. “But when they come, you have to seize those moments. Nobody has a crystal ball to tell you what the outcome is going to be. If you don’t maximize on the opportunity, I can guarantee you what the outcome will be; its going to be a zero.”
Ellis was the 8th overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys and played the first 11 seasons of his career in Dallas before retiring as an Oakland Raider in 2009. During his career he earned a Pro-Bowl appearance in 2007 and was also named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year that season. Over the course of his 12 year NFL career he recorded 392 tackles and 84 sacks, and is highly regarded as one of the best players at his position in Cowboys history.
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Watch Greg Ellis Speaking about his NFL Career: