FRISCO, Texas — When Dak Prescott walks into AT&T Stadium on Sunday afternoon, the air will be a little different than each of his 100 previous career starts with the Dallas Cowboys.
Sure, Prescott has had three games to get used to not having his best friend and co-partner in the backfield, Ezekiel Elliott, with him. But when the game kicks off and Elliott is back in AT&T Stadium – not as a teammate, but as an opponent – it'll be hard to ignore the emotions around the spectacle.
"I expect Zeke's best every time he gets on the field," Prescott said. "He said it's gonna be emotional, I can't imagine that he doesn't come in and run a little harder than he normally does."
After eight seasons together and countless memories both on and off the field, Prescott is looking forward to what Elliott does in the newest stage of his career as he will look to beat the Cowboys for the first time.
"I'm excited for him," Prescott said. "It'll be good to see him. That's like a little brother. Best friend, obviously. We came into this thing together. Grew on the field, off the field. It was awesome. It was unfortunate for him to go to another team, but that's part of this business. We learned that pretty quick. Happy for him, always pulling for him."
The business part of the NFL is always the most sobering when friendships are built like the one Prescott and Elliott had. Even when Elliott called his best friend to tell him the news back in March, the emotions still hit home.
"Zeke actually told me," he said. "He called me a few days before it actually happened just giving me a heads up. From that sense, it was just business. Talking different scenarios for him, how to approach before they released him or how they released him."
The last few months have allowed Prescott to reminisce on their time together, going back to their rookie year in 2016 when Prescott took over the quarterback role as well as partaking in a routine side mission as Elliott's personal chauffeur.
"He didn't have a license at the time or a car so I think that kind of forced our relationship to grow," he said. "From there, it wasn't about where we got picked. For a quarterback and running back coming in the same class, you're just gonna naturally bond. We learned the offense together, spent time together."
With that playing relationship now in the past, Prescott says that their friendship will extend well past Elliott's time as a Cowboy and well beyond their time in the NFL. For the two, their bond moves far past the business of the NFL.
"At the end of the day, it's a business," he said. "I'm blessed that I was able to create those relationships because of this game. I'm blessed for the time we had and it'll go well beyond our time playing."