FRISCO, Texas – "I just want to play football."
That was not only the resounding statement, but also the message from Ezekiel Elliott, who returned to The Star on Tuesday after serving a wildly-disputed six-game suspension from the NFL.
Without a doubt, Zeke is happy these last final two games are meaningful in the standings with playoff implications on the line.
But considering the smile on his face and the joy he had being around his coaches and teammates, the Cowboys' three-game winning streak and 8-6 record appear to be simply mere add-ons to the overlying big picture.
"It's been great, finally being able to enjoy my guys and getting back to football," Elliott said of his return. "They did a good job keeping us in it while I was gone. I'm just here to do the best job I can to make sure we can get a chance to make it in the playoffs."
As expected, Elliott didn't dwell much on the past, not only the six-game suspension, but all of the legal disputes that occurred from the start of the season, and of course the NFL's investigation of the domestic violence allegation that a former girlfriend made against Elliott in the summer of 2016 – accusations Elliott has firmly denied.
"It's all behind me," he said. "All I can do is to be the football player I am."
Elliott did answer how difficult the process has been to sit at home and watch his teammates struggle to a 3-3 record in his six-game absence, which occurred after a three-game winning streak elevated the Cowboys to a 5-3 mark.
"It was painful to watch. I watched every game and just rooted for my guys," Elliott said. "But it definitely was tough. But it was something I had to do to play in this league. All I could do was sit there and root for my guys the best I can. They did a good job."
In the meantime, Elliott says he wasn't just sitting around. He made sure to not only stay in shape, but get in better playing shape than before.
"That was just the most important thing to come back and be in shape and ready to be the running back I have to be for this team," Zeke said. "That was my main focus."
And now his focus shifts to the Seahawks and Sunday's must-win game at AT&T Stadium.
From the sound of things, Zeke will be more than ready.
"I've been chomping at the bit since the last time I played," Zeke said. "So it's going to be exciting."