Thomas — A Good Fit?

IRVING, Tex. - When a team as loaded with talent as this year's Dallas Cowboys signs a free agent as experienced as linebacker Zach Thomas — who is entering his 13th season this fall — the team often is looking for a leader to solidify the locker room.

That's not the case in Dallas, where the Cowboys' locker room includes a rare blend of experience and youth, marquee starters and quality depth. While Thomas has been earmarked for a starting role on the Dallas defense, he sees his role as nothing more than "fitting in."

"You've got guys on this defense like Bradie James. He's everything I thought he'd be — a great player and a great leader," Thomas said. "Then you've got guys like Greg Ellis, and of course DeMarcus Ware — guys who lead verbally, and by their actions."

It's not that Thomas eschews a leadership role, as that is exactly what he was for the Miami Dolphins for the last 12 years.

"I just don't feel like I have to be a leader here, because we've got so many leaders on this team already," he said. "I'm not the voice of the team. I was in Miami — I was there 12 years — but here, I'm just trying to fit in."

Thomas said that although he has a lot to learn in his new defense — "everything is different," he said — the challenge of a new team, with new teammates and schemes and terminology can be invigorating.

"I feel young," he said. "That's why I still play. I feel good, and I hope that we can get all this talent together.

"The foundation is set. There's a lot of talent on this team, even a lot of depth. I don't need to come in here and be the lead guy. I just need to fit in, work hard and do my job."

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