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Offseason | 2024

Ezekiel Elliott opens up about Cowboys' reunion


FRISCO, Texas — It's officially official: Ezekiel Elliott is a member of the Dallas Cowboys. Having signed his new deal on Tuesday, the former All-Pro running back preparing to report for offseason conditioning with quarterback Dak Prescott and the rest of his offensive counterparts to begin preparation for the 2024 season — one that will mark his ninth in the league and eight with the Cowboys.

His lone year away from Dallas was spent with the New England Patriots as No. 15 in 2023, but he picked up his former No. 21 in his reunion with the Cowboys, presumably sticking with it going forward.

"It feels great to be home," said the former two-time NFL rushing champ. "I definitely missed being here. I missed this building. I missed Cowboys' nation. I'm definitely excited and ready to get this thing going."

Things look wildly different this time around in the running backs room for Elliott, however.

Tony Pollard now plays for the Tennessee Titans and Rico Dowdle having ascended to being his complementary back — along with Deuce Vaughn, Hunter Luepke, Snoop Conner and Royce Freeman all being names that weren't present when Elliott was leading the locker room as recently as the 2022 season.

"It's definitely good to see TP get paid," said Elliott. "He's a tremendous back who's had a hell of a career. I'm excited for him and his family. … It'll definitely be different. Talking about the explosiveness Tony brings to the room."

That's where Dowdle comes into play though, and Elliott is very familiar with Dowdle's style of play from their several seasons together prior to 2023.

"Rico definitely had a great year last year — finally got his health together," Elliott said. "He was able to showcase his ability. He runs the ball superhard, and that's something I love about his game. It'll be fun to play with Rico [again] this year."

For Elliott, it's all about stepping in and being what the Cowboys need: a leader on the field and a mentor in the locker room and meeting rooms, things he has proven to be in years past.

He's mentally a far cry from when he entered the league as Dallas' fourth-overall pick in 2016 — an unproven talent with a lot to prove and who, alongside Prescott, was asked to shoulder the weight of moving the entire organization into the post-Tony Romo era.

Nowadays, he's the eight-year veteran with stories to tell and lessons to share.

"Just being in this league for as long as I have been, and being comfortable with who I am, and having as many reps as I have, I can focus on bringing other guys along and help them find their way," said Elliott. " … A lot of skilled guys and guys with a lot of different talents [in our RBs room]. It'll be exciting to work with them, push each other and help each other become better football players."

Still on the right side of 30 years old, there's plenty of tread left on Elliott's tires, seeing as he produced nearly 1,000 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns for the Patriots in only five starts last season; and that's not including a wheel route he turned into a 70-yard touchdown that was called back due to penalty on a teammate.

With that, he would've been over the 1,000-yard mark.

"Just showing I can be a starter in this league," he said of his time in New England. "I can still play at a high level. I'm [going to] continue that here. … "I've always prided myself on being an all-around back, back there.

"Not just running with the ball but [also] protecting the quarterback and catching the ball out of the backfield."

Already ranked third in franchise history in rushing yards, average rushing yards per game and average yards per carry, it sounds as if Elliott has no plans on slowing his pen down as he inks his next chapter in his Cowboys' legacy.

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