It was the “best decision of all” that the team fired quarterback Ezekiel Elliott on Wednesday, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said, but his teammates are still feeling the brunt of it.
Quarterback Dak Prescott has been with Elliott since they were both drafted in 2016 by the Cowboys. Elliott was the fourth overall pick that year, while Prescott was knocked out by Mississippi State in the fourth round.
They’ve completely developed a friendship over the past few years on and off the field, which makes this release more like losing a family member to Prescott.
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“It’s tough, bro,” Prescott told NFL.com. “Playing the game with a brother. To be able to start this NFL career and share so many memories and grow as men…with this organization. I really can’t imagine getting on the field without him. I don’t know if it quite hit me yet. Who “Obviously, I’ve talked to him. I’m hurt. I’m sure he is. It’s more important for me to be able to support him. I know he has more opportunities coming his way and I love this guy, proud of him.”
Elliott’s parting ways with the Cowboys come after he agreed to a six-year, $90 million contract, $50 million of which was guaranteed. That led him through the 2026 NFL season with the Cowboys.
However, there was an opt-out clause that the team could exercise in 2023, and that was exactly what the front office felt was the right move.
COWBOYS RELEASES EZEKIEL ELLIOTT AFTER SEVEN SEASONS IN DALLAS
The emergence of running back Tony Pollard in the team’s offense is the main reason why Elliott’s departure isn’t a surprise. He hit it big, and Pollard’s production — 1,007 rushing yards, 371 rushing yards, and 12 total touchdowns — kept him on the field more often.
Elliott averaged 3.8 yards per carry, and rushed for 876 yards on 231 attempts. A goal-line favorite, he had 12 touchdowns on the ground to lead Dallas last season.
Elliott’s tough running style is something Prescott has loved to play with over the years.
“Zeke is the guy who played this game — he did everything about this game — the right way,” said Prescott. “I listen , [he] did that. But when it was time to lock up, when it was time to focus and give your all and to show your teammates and show your teammates what really matters to young people and how to get things done, Zeke was a man to follow. Just how to be a professional, how to be a professional with a smile on your face – and enjoy the game and enjoy life.”
Turnover and turnover have been words the Cowboys have been accustomed to since Prescott and Elliott entered the league. Only 10 players remain on the list from the 2019 squad.
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“I didn’t expect this day to come — it’s part of the job,” Prescott said.
The work is tough, but it should also produce a new home for Elliott in the league. Although he has been plagued by injury issues, Elliott’s work ethic and ability to fight friction for more yards should lead the 27-year-old somewhere else.
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Elliott totaled 8,262 yards and 68 rushing touchdowns in his seven seasons with the Cowboys.
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