It could be an emotional Sunday for New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott since he faces the Dallas Cowboys for the first time in his career, and his former team probably has a tribute in store.
“I don’t want to blow a surprise,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said of a potential tribute Wednesday on KRLD-FM in Dallas, per The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “As far as a back that the opposing teams hate to tackle, I think he’s at the top of the list. Zeke took a toll on those defensive players. I’ll always remember him for that.”
The Cowboys selected Elliott with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He fulfilled the high expectations, becoming a star. In seven seasons with Dallas, he earned three Pro Bowl nods and rushed for 8,384 yards, third in franchise history behind Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith.
Yet the franchise released Elliott in March 2023 after his production waned the previous season when he rushed for a career-low 876 rushing yards in 15 games.
Nonetheless, the 28-year-old RB signaled he holds no bitter feelings and wants to prove he’s not washed.
“Anyone who gets released or cut, it’s going to be tough mentally. But life is life,” Elliott said Wednesday, per Machota. “You gotta take a negative and turn it into a positive. I think I got plenty left in the tank. I still think I’m a very good back.”
After Elliott ran for a season-high 80 yards in a Week 3 victory against the Jets, expect another strong performance against the Cowboys. Dallas ranks 25th in rushing yards allowed (394). Plus, it will make his homecoming sweeter.