Now released, Ezekiel Elliott will go down as one of Cowboys’ all-time greats
After 11 record-breaking seasons in Dallas, the Cowboys traded Tony Dorsett. After 13 record-breaking seasons in Dallas, the Cowboys cut Emmitt Smith. After seven mostly-spectacular seasons in Dallas, the Cowboys are parting ways with Ezekiel Elliott.
The move, designated a post-June 1 release, will provide the Cowboys with $10.9 million of cap space later in the summer, but none now, while allowing Elliott to shop his services on the open market while teams still have needs and cap space.
Things rarely end glamorously in the NFL. Yet unlike in a great novel or award winning movie, it’s not about the ending but rather the brilliant moments within the story that are ultimately remembered. For Elliott, he’ll be remembered as one of the greatest running backs to ever wear the star.
Elliott entered the NFL as a first round pick out of Ohio State. The former Buckeye hit the ground running for the Cowboys, amassing 1,631 yards in his first season. With Tony Romo injured and a rookie fourth rounder named Dak Prescott filling in under center, the engine of the Cowboys’ offense undoubtedly ran through Elliott in 2016. Dallas posted a 13-3 record, eventually losing to the Packers in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Elliott’s rookie season would go down as his most successful seasons as a pro . Over the course of his career Elliott logged 8,262 yards rushing, third most in franchise history. He was a team leader and lighthearted warrior on the field.
.@EzekielElliott appreciation tweet 🙏
(via @NFL) pic.twitter.com/PZtpiEz9z8
— SportsDay Cowboys (@dmn_cowboys) March 15, 2023
While the heavy workload and constant beatings took their toll, Elliott was a fixture in the lineup. With the exception of six-game suspension in 2017, Elliott would play in 15 or more games every season in Dallas, even playing through a partially torn PCL in 2021 and another knee injury in 2022.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott faked a jump into the Salvation Army red kettle following his game-winning touchdown Sunday vs. Texans. Elliott: “I’m not trying to get fined again. Maybe Christmas (Eve).” NFL docked Elliott $13,261 for last week’s celebration. pic.twitter.com/90oppSR5n0
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) December 11, 2022
Elliott will always be known for his famous “feed me” gesture. He’ll be known for the 68 rushing touchdown accumulated in a Cowboys uniform. He’ll be remembered for using the Salvation Army’s red kettle during a celebration.
Elliott’s finable offense was turned into PR gold, bringing attention to the red kettle and allowing him to live on in charitable immortality.
Great shot from @SmileyPool of Ezekiel Elliott’s $21 red kettle donation pic.twitter.com/vG7GxLFEr8
— Jon Machota (@jonmachota) November 22, 2018
Elliott was a fantastic teammate to seemingly everyone and a close friend to Prescott. He remained supportive of his teammate when he eventually took the backseat to Tony Pollard, Dallas’ newest top rusher.
In the end Elliott gave the Cowboys countless good moments that will be remembered far longer than the unceremonious ending. Like the greats that came before him, his career will continue, just not in Dallas.
Another all-time great has come and gone for the Cowboys. He had a career in Dallas worth celebrating and it doesn’t matter how it ended, when the story itself was so great.
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