Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Ezekiel Elliott’s release by the team on Wednesday was “the best decision for everybody,” but his teammates are still feeling the sting.
Since being drafted by the Cowboys in 2016 with quarterback Dak Prescott Elliott. Elliott was the fourth overall pick that year, while Prescott went out of Mississippi State in the fourth round.
They’ve developed a friendship on and off the field over the past few years, which makes this release feel like losing a family member for Prescott.
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“It’s tough, bro,” Prescott told NFL.com. “Playing with a brother. Starting this NFL career, sharing so many memories, growing up as men… with this organization. I can’t really imagine going on the field without him. I don’t know if it’s complete. Still hits me, obviously. I talked to him, I was hurt, I’m sure, I’m sure, it’s very important for me to support him. I know he’s going to have a lot of opportunities, and I love that guy and I’m proud of him.”
Elliott is parting ways with the Cowboys after agreeing to a six-year, $90 million contract, $50 million of which is guaranteed. That took him through the 2026 NFL season with the Cowboys.
However, the team had an opt-out clause to practice in 2023, and the front office felt it was the right move.
Cowboys release Ezekiel Elliott after seven seasons in Dallas
One of the main reasons why Elliott’s departure came as no surprise is that Tony Pollard has been pushed back by the team’s bowling. He was a high-cap hit, and Pollard’s production — 1,007 rushing yards, 371 receiving yards, 12 touchdowns — put him on the field more often.
Elliott averaged 3.8 yards per carry and rushed for 876 yards on 231 attempts. He was a goal-line favorite as he had 12 touchdowns on the ground to lead Dallas last season.
Elliott’s hard-nosed running style is what Prescott has loved playing for years.
“Zeke was a guy, man, he played this game — everything about this game — the right way,” Prescott said. “It was fun, [he] He did it. But when it’s time to log in, when it’s time to focus, to give it your all, to show your teammates, to show the younger guys what really matters and how to do it, Zeke is a guy to follow. How to be a pro and how to be a pro with a smile on your face – and enjoy this game and enjoy life.”
Turnover and change have been words the Cowboys have used since Prescott and Elliott entered the league. Only 10 players remain on the roster from the 2019 squad.
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“I didn’t see this day coming — part of the business,” Prescott said.
The trade was brutal, but it should create a new home for Elliott in the league. Despite his injury problems, Elliott’s work ethic and ability to fight for more yards through contact should lead the 27-year-old elsewhere.
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Elliott totaled 8,262 yards and 68 rushing touchdowns in his seven seasons with the Cowboys.