Colts linebacker Gilbert Gardner returned to Indianapolis this year to learn that he had a new…
Ayodele's Fit in the 3-4 Led Him to Dallas
For Ayodele, however, there's an added excitement: he's home.
While the Dallas area generates legions of talented players, running back Tyson Thompson is the only other player in Cowboys history who can say they grew up in Irving, the Dallas suburb where the team's Valley Ranch training facility is located.
Ayodele arrives in Dallas after spending four seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He played in 17 games last year (including the AFC Wildcard game), recording 100 tackles and forcing a team-high four fumbles. But while the common perception is that he signed with Dallas because of his lifelong love affair wit the team, the decision, he said, was based on far more than location and finances.
"That wasn't it, really," he said. "I probably could have made more money if I stuck it out a little longer, but that's not what drove me, and as nice as it is to be here, it's not just because it's home.
"I had seven teams trying to acquire me, including the Jaguars – they were definitely in the running. But I just looked at the teams and tried to find the best fit. I studied the rosters, the players they had at linebacker, the coaches, the schemes – Dallas was the best fit for me."
That fit will not be without its adjustments for Ayodele. While some free agents speak of an easy transition as they simply apply new terminology to a scheme with which they already are familiar, Ayodele is starting from scratch with the Dallas defense.
"That's the biggest thing, the 3-4," he said. "I've never played it. I've always played in the 4-3, in college (at Purdue) and in Jacksonville – now I'm moving to the 3-4. Plus, I've always played outside – now I'm moving inside. I've got a lot to learn.
"But when you look at what we've got here, on defense, there's a lot to get excited about. This defense is young, and fast. There's a lot of talent here. I've been spending some time with Bradie James, watching film, in the meeting rooms, and he's been here – he knows this defense, and how it's supposed to work. So where I am now – he's a big reason for that."
But the fact remains that if he has to take on a new system, a new challenge, a new position, Dallas is where he wants to do it.
"I've always been a Cowboys fan, my whole life," Ayodele said. "It feels great. It's such an honor to play for this organization, to wear the star.
"I was in junior high when they won their first Super Bowl (of the 1990s), and a lot of my friends skipped school to go to the parade. I thought about it, but chickened out. I don't want people to skip school – that's not the right thing to do – but that's the goal, to get another parade here for the Cowboys."
CowboysHQ.com Recommended Stories
Dr. Roto Video: Waiver Wire Wednesday
Dr. Roto believes Miami Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry will overtake WR Brian Hartline as the team's No. 2 receiver sooner rather than later. Stay ahead of the curve with Dr. Roto!Read More
Giants Strike First In Game One Rout
The San Francisco Giants came out swinging in Game One of the 2014 World Series, scoring three times in the first inning and never looking back.Read More
Three of earth’s best ingredients combined into one succulent strip. Tailgaters will bow in appreciation.Read More
National Anthem Played with a Gun!
Musical targets? Yes, this guy plays the national anthem while shooting musical targets.Read More
Late Season Eastern Steel
NAFC friend, Frank Scalish, is best known for his achievements as a professional bass fisherman, but when the weather cools, the tourneys are over and the last bass has been weighed, he dons waders,…Read More