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Offseason | 2024

Zeke discusses wearing No. 15 in 'new era' in Dallas


FRISCO, Texas — Members of the Dallas Cowboys were on-hand on Wednesday night at Dr. Pepper Ballpark in Frisco for the annual Reliant Home Run Derby where 10 players compete to raise money for The Salvation Army and local charities.

Bryan Anger came away as the winner of the event after hitting multiple home runs on his way to raising $22,800 for charity. In all, the Cowboys raised $104,900 for The Salvation Army with their performances.

The event also allowed for the players to meet with the media, as storylines continue to circulate around multiple players, including some new and familiar faces.

Here are the highlights from the media availability.

Zeke's New Era

Ezekiel Elliott is getting settled back in Dallas, as he took the field on Wednesday donning a big smile. Earlier on Wednesday morning, news broke that he would not be wearing the No. 21 jersey that he made iconic during his seven seasons with the Cowboys. Instead, he will be keeping the No. 15 that he wore in New England and in his days in college at Ohio State.

"I just kind of look at it as a different era," Elliott said. "I wore 15 last year and wanted to go back. I got unfinished business. I'm here to chase a ring."

Aubrey's Rare Time Off

It's been over a year since Brandon Aubrey was able to simply rest.

After a productive USFL season last spring and summer with the Birmingham Stallions, Aubrey immediately made his way to Cowboys training camp where he earned a job and produced the best rookie season for a kicker in NFL history.

This time around, Aubrey has been able to get time with family, but it didn't come without a hiccup along the way. One day after his first Pro Bowl appearance, he had to have surgery to remove his appendix. Even though it was bothering him going into the weekend, he chose to take antibiotics so that he could see through his first Pro Bowl before having it removed the next day.

"I took like six weeks off," Aubrey said. "Just rest and relaxed. I went on vacation a couple of times. Had [the appendix] out the day after the Pro Bowl. It was kind of bothering me during the Pro Bowl. Got it out and had some forced rest."

Dak's New Protectors

Dak Prescott was on-hand to discuss a wide range of topics, including his excitement for the incoming draft class. With Tyler Guyton and Cooper Beebe coming into the building to factor into the new protection unit up front after the departures of Tyron Smith and Tyler Biadasz, Prescott is excited about the future of his protection.

"When you get linemen that can protect, obviously you get excited," Prescott said. "When you get Tyler Guyton and see how big he is, I'm excited to add that. Get him in there with some of the other guys for him to follow. And then Beebe, you go get another guy inside in the third round that can help us. I've seen a lot of good stuff on him. I thought it was a great draft."

Cooks' Advice for CeeDee

CeeDee Lamb has yet to report for voluntary team workouts this offseason as he awaits an extension ahead of his fifth season, and it's been completely understood by his fellow teammates.

In fact, Brandin Cooks gave a resounding endorsement for why Lamb should be the highest-paid receiver in the league while also giving some quality veteran advice along the way.

"My biggest advice for him is to keep grinding, which I know he's doing," Cooks said. "Stay ready, which I know he's doing. So when he comes back out, there won't be a step lost. He's great and he deserves everything that is coming his way. I hope he gets every single dollar he can and becomes the highest-paid receiver, because he's the greatest receiver in the league, no doubt."

Not So Bland

Life is a bit different this offseason for DaRon Bland after a record-setting season that saw him set the league mark for pick-sixes in a season while also notching his first AP First-Team All-Pro nod.

From being recognized at gas stations to finding it more difficult to maintain his signature lowkey profile and personality, Bland has been embracing his newfound limelight heading into year three.

But even with the high expectations that he set for himself in 2023, he is looking towards making his high level of play the standard moving forward.

"It's definitely harder now to keep a low profile, but I'm enjoying it," Bland said. "Last season, it's hard to set a bar [after it], but now it's about setting a standard. I always have the same expectations."

Kendricks' Expectations

Eric Kendricks was able to speak with the media for the first time since signing in March, as he is looking forward to reuniting with Mike Zimmer on the field and helping usher in a new defensive era for his new teammates.

"I've played in this system for seven seasons," Kendricks said. "It's something I'm very familiar with. As we get more comfortable – and I'm already getting more comfortable with the guys in communicating – we're only going to get better as it goes. We're starting off slow and we're doing it the right way."

Having spent so much time with Zimmer, Kendricks knows what is expected of his defensive unit. While it may be a shift from what the unit is used to, he knows it'll be a positive force.

"Zim is going to be the same guy every day," he said. "He has a high standard of performance. He's strict, personality-wise, but he always says take care of me, I'll take care of you. I have talked to the guys about Zim. It is a big difference, but ball is ball. We gotta be on our P's and Q's."

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