Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys will reconvene on Sunday at AT&T Stadium as opponents for the first time in Elliott's record-setting NFL career, making it an emotional day for both.
When the Patriots take the field in Arlington this Sunday, they'll feel a wave of emotions. This is remarkably reminiscent of Emmitt Smith's return in an Arizona Cardinals uniform.
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones hinted about honouring Elliott before kickoff, which could amp up the emotional storm. When asked, "I don't want to blow a surprise," he told 105.3FM the Fan.
Elliott, a 2016 Cowboys fourth-overall pick, and quarterback Dak Prescott were two rookies that dominated the NFL and changed Dallas.The 28-year-old left the team this offseason, finishing his career in North Texas as No. 3 on the franchise's all-time rushing yards list with 8,262, behind only Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith.
He did so with 54 fewer games and in a pass-heavy NFL culture, just five rushing touchdowns shy of surpassing Dorsett (72). Elliott ranks third in 100-yard games and seventh in scrimmage yards. Jones then explained where Elliott stands in the organisation.
"He was one of the best teammates that I've had the privilege of seeing on the Cowboys," Jones. He inspired me. His practising habits were extreme. He practised like every play was important.
"He has unusual running back skills and can lower that pad and centre of gravity. I believe he is the most feared back by opposition teams. That and his positivity will always be remembered.
"He has the perfect mentality to play this game and be a pro." Jones and Co. recognize the goal is to keep Elliott and Rhamondre Stevenson from teeing off one week after the Cardinals ran for 222 yards on the ground. Elliott says it will be hard to combine emotions with what the Patriots are expecting of him against his former team.
"It's gonna be a little bit interesting, a little bit different, going against guys that I played with for so long, but I'm not really trying to focus so much on that," said. "My goal is to win the football game. I have little time to feel. I must prepare for the game and play well. There are feelings."I may hide them well. I'll feel things, but I must perform."
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