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IRVING, Texas (105.3 THE FAN) – In his first interview since signing with the Cowboys, Henry Melton tells 105.3 The Fan’s “New School’’ about the top reasons he’s joined Dallas under the terms of what sources tell us is a one-year deal with a three-year team option that in the end could be worth approximately $28 million.

“It was just a strong connection with Rod (Marinelli),’’ Melton says. “And being at home and close to my family. I wanted to come here.’’

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The Pro Bowl defensive tackle was actually in St. Louis and heading to a recruiting dinner with the Rams when he got the call from agent Jordan Woy that Dallas had agreed in principle to a contract that pays Melton just $3.5-to-$5 million this year but rewards him with a $9 million guarantee and about $8 million for two more years assuming he’s on the roster at the start of the 2015 business season.

“And both parties very much want that to happen,’’ Woy tells us.

Melton never made the Rams dinner. But the night before, he dined with Marinelli, Dallas’ defensive coordinator who held the same role with the Bears when he mentored Melton to stardom.

“It was just a strong connection with Rod,’’ says Melton. “We had fun, went to dinner, and he was giving me his recruiting spiel … I met everybody in the (Cowboys) front office.  All great people. But Rod … He was pulling out all the stops, let’s just say that.’’

Melton, 27, played only three games last season before suffering a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. Cowboys doctors, however, have given him clearance to be ready for 2014 training camp. And Melton says other teams’ medical staffs “checked me out, pulled on it, tugged on it, did all the MRIs, and all said I’d be good by training camp.’’

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Melton also downplayed news of a conflict at a Grapevine nightclub being investigated by police, insisting his foes in a brawl are making a “money grab’’ by trying to press charges.

Melton says he’s been overwhelmed by Cowboys fan support and by phone calls – meaning he’s heard his Michael Jackson “P.Y.T.’’ ringtone repeatedly.

“It’s been crazy,’’ Melton said. “My mom wants me to change my number. … It seems like everybody is excited to have me and it feels good.’’

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