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Monte Kiffin knew DeMarcus Ware way back

OXNARD, Calif. – It turns out this is not the first time Monte Kiffin has coached DeMarcus Ware.

We’ll let the Cowboys’ new defensive coordinator tell the story about the 2005 Senior Bowl, when he was with Tampa Bay and coaching one of the all-star squads.

“One time, I’m coaching the defensive line and there was this guy in the roped-off area watching him practice, and DeMarcus had his hand down rushing,” Kiffin said. “This guy walked up -- and this is a guy I knew way back in college -- and he said, ‘Do you mind just standing him up for a couple of rushes?’

“It was Bill Parcells.”

The Cowboys took Ware with the 11th overall pick of the 2005 draft and converted him from defensive end to outside linebacker with their shift to the 3-4.

Now entering his ninth year, Ware is moving to defensive end as the Cowboys shift to the 4-3.

It has not taken Kiffin long to know Ware will be just fine with the position switch.

“He is what he is,” Kiffin said, “and it’s not a surprise to anybody right now. He’s a special athlete ... He’s good at both. He’s a 3-4 backer. He can put his hand down. He can come off the edge. No doubt. He did that way back in college. He can do it.”