A Look Back (2007): Cowboys Release Elam and Ball

Abram Elam became a starter in New York in 2007, the year that Dallas released him.

The Cowboys didn’t lack for talent in 2007, which was the first post-Parcells year for the team. The secondary looked solid, with incumbent starters Terence Newman and Anthony Henry at corner and veterans Roy Williams and Ken Hamlin at safety. ┬áDallas also had Jacques Reeves as a nickel corner and Nate Jones as another backup.

When it came to the final cuts in September, two players of note were released. The first was a sixth-round draft pick named Alan Ball. The other was a second-year player named Abram Elam.

Dallas reportedly wanted to resign both players and put them on the practice squad. That strategy worked with Ball, who eventually saw action in two games in 2007.

However, the Jets stepped in a claimed Elam. By October of that season, Elam was starting at safety, and he even started when Dallas faced the Jets on Thanksgiving.

Elam, of course, wound up playing two seasons in New York before moving on to Cleveland. He’s back in Dallas now and will replace Ball as the starting free safety in 2011.

The personnel moves in 2007 made some sense then, but not so much now. Consider these moves:

Players released (Sept. 2007)

DB Abram Elam (started 48 games with Jets and Browns)

DB Alan Ball (started at FS with Dallas in 2010)

QB Matt Moore (started 13 games with Carolina)

DL Remi Ayodele (started 29 games with New Orleans in 2009 and 2010)

CB Aaron Glenn (played two more seasons in Jacksonville and New Orleans)

K Martin Gramatica

Last minute signings

LB Justin Rogers (no career starts)

DB Evan Oglesby (played in 11 games after 2007 season)


Losing Moore was frustrating, but little did anyone know that we would see Ball and Elam factor into the team’s free agency plans four years later.

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Something else that isn’t very well known: Elam has a criminal history. Here is a story from the New York Daily News.