Meet the Cowboys Starting LBs: 'The Masked Singer,' 'The Translator' & 'The Role Model'

FRISCO - Meet the Dallas Cowboys starting linebackers as penciled in by new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. ...

"The Masked Singer.''

"The Translator.''

And "The Role Model.''

In talking to players and coaches and in watching OTAs, the linebackers room roles are becoming defined. Veteran Eric Kendricks, who played for Zimmer in Minnesota, is onboard. DeMarvion Overshown, a prized rookie from a year ago, is rehabbing amid positivity. Damone Clark is looking for that next level ...

meet the cowboys starting lbs: 'the masked singer,' 'the translator' & 'the role model'

Meet the Cowboys Starting LBs: 'The Masked Singer,' 'The Translator' & 'The Role Model'

Let's meet 'em ...

"The Masked Singer.'' DeMarvion Overshown is personality plus. He became "Agent 0'' at Texas and wore dozens of wristbands so after games, he could throw them to Longhorns fans. He arrived in Dallas a year ago as a ...-round pick and grabbed the spotlight with his huge leather cowboy hat, his tales of growing up in ... and his singing voice.

Yes, "Agent Zero'' can croon.

But he's adding something else this year: Texas beef.

"I've definitely gotten bigger since last year," said Overshown. "That was more of a 'me' thing, and seeing my future in this league and what's gonna be best for my body — to be productive on the field — and that was gaining weight.

"And not just gaining weight in general, but gaining lean mass, muscle weight and getting stronger. I've put about 12 to 13 pounds of lean mass on, and I'm gonna go into camp a little bigger and then drop down to where I wanna play at, which will be around 233 or 234."

Overshown will be the weakside ("WILL'') linebacker, using his speed in coverage ... but hopefully using his added mass to help Dallas' run defense sing a different tune in 2024.

"The Translator.'' Kendricks will be the middle ("MIKE'') linebacker and will serve as "the quarterback of the defense'' under Zimmer.

They worked together in Minnesota and Kendricks became a Pro Bowler ... even as he sometimes clashed with the no-nonsense demands of Zimmer.

And now? Kendricks will serve as the interpreter, "The Translator,'' of what Zimmer wants. He'll be the intermediary, he'll likely call the defensive signals and he'll be a teacher in the huddle.

Said Kendricks: "I’ve been in this system for seven years. It’s something I’m very familiar with. ... I think it’s good that, especially from someone who’s giving the calls in the huddle, it can be a singular voice right now - especially as everyone is learning.

“I’m already getting more comfortable talking with the guys, communicating, alerting checks and things like that. We’re only gonna get better at it as it goes.''

That is the plan. Kendricks knows it by heart. He's helping his new teammates learn it - and learn Zimmer.

"The Role Model.'' Damone Clark has position flex; he played a lot of middle linebacker in 2023 due to the Leighton Vander Esch injury. Now he'll be the strongside or "SAM'') linebacker, where his snaps will lessen but where that run-stopping ability must show.

And if character counts? Clark's ability will show.

He is switching jersey numbers, to No. 18. And the reason, simply, is about class.

Clark wore No. 18 at LSU. That's the number given only to a player who best exemplifies the best of the program - character and leadership and performance on and off the field.

Clark recently bought a modest home north of Frisco. He eats right. He does everything the training staff asks of him inside The Star and then on his own time, does more to keep his body right - a body that underwent spinal fusion surgery before his 2021 NFL Draft. The surgery caused him to be taken in Round 5 ... when he otherwise might've gone in Round 2 or higher.

But he has persevered. Because that's just what he does.

The Cowboys talk a great deal about "culture.'' There are questions there. Damone Clark's history says he has some of the answers.

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