Ezekiel Elliot has been a staple of the Dallas Cowboys for seven years, but the team and player have decided to part ways. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed that the three-time All-Pro running back would no longer be a member of the team.
Elliot saw his role diminished last season due to the breakout year that running back Tony Pollard had, which caused Elliot to split time in the backfield. With the decreased role, Elliot’s massive contract still owed him four years out of the initial six years for $90 million. Jerry Jones released a statement about the release, which is shared by Cowboy’s Wire:
“Zeke’s impact and influence is seared into the Cowboys franchise in a very special and indelible way. He has been a consummate professional and leader that set a tone in our locker room, on the practice field and in the huddle. Zeke defined what a great teammate should be, and anyone that has ever played a team sport would be lucky to have a teammate like Zeke and be much better for it. His commitment and passion for winning is selfless, and the accountability he brings everyday earned the respect of our coaches, his teammates and our entire organization. He wore the Cowboys Star with pride and purpose every single time he put it on, and we’re a better franchise because of the example he set for veterans and rookies alike. That carried over into our community as well, with Zeke’s generosity and spirit about giving and caring for others.
“We have mutually agreed with Zeke that the best decision for everyone is that he will be able to experience free agency, and we can increase our flexibility and options as well. This is one of the toughest parts of operating a team. Moments like this come, and extremely difficult decisions and choices are made. For the franchise. For me personally. For players too. We will always have a special place and love for Zeke and what he means to our Cowboys family, both as a person and a player. That will never change.”
Elliot was the fourth overall pick in the 2016 draft after a successful career at Ohio State University. He became the focal point of the Cowboy’s offense, which saw him lead the league in carries in multiple seasons. Through his first seven seasons in the NFL, Elliot has the second most total rushing yards of any running back, only behind Derrick Henry. The heavy workload, however, may have caught up to him near the end of the Cowboy’s tenure, as Elliot has not rushed for 100 yards in a game since 2021, according to Dallas Morning News.
Elliot will undoubtedly receive interest from teams across the league, as so much has been made of his character and competitiveness. Even as a backup running option and locker room leader, he has a role to play for NFL teams. It is hard to bet against a player like him returning to form, even if only for a short time.
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