Dak Prescott: ‘Tough’ to see Cowboys release RB Ezekiel Elliott after years playing together
This week in Dallas, the era ended when the Cowboys released Ezekiel Elliott.
One of his classmates in the draft, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, had to come to terms with the reality of saying goodbye to his longtime teammate.
“It’s hard. Brother,” Prescott said of Elliott at a charity event on Thursday. “Play a game with your brother. To be able to start this career in the NFL, share so many memories and grow as men… with this organization. I really can’t imagine going on the field without him. I don’t know if it completely hit me yet. Obviously I talked to him. I’m in pain. I’m sure it is. It is more important for me to be able to support him. I know he has more options and I love this guy and I’m proud of him.”
Dallas has gone through a lot of changes since Prescott and Elliott formed a fantastic rookie duo back in 2016, leading the Cowboys to a 13-3 finish and the NFC East crown. There have been division title and playoff run-ups, as well as setbacks for failing to live up to the often sky-high expectations of playing for Dallas. But Elliot is far from the only Cowboy to leave Dallas between then and now — as of Thursday, only 10 players from the 2019 Dallas team remained on the roster.
“To hear 10 and understand how much has been flipped, I feel like 10 is a big number at the moment,” Prescott said. “Like I always told you all, it was draft classes after me and watching these guys. Year after year goes by, and now I’m one of my remaining ones. I didn’t expect this day to come. part of the business.”
When it comes to business, both Prescott and Elliot have definitely made their share of the dollars. Prescott enters year three of his four-year, $160 million deal signed in 2021; Elliot’s six-year, $90 million extension ended after just three years.
Such lavish deals handcuffed the Cowboys when it came to adding (and retaining) last year’s talent intake, and when it became clear Elliott’s place on offense no longer mattered, a departure became possible. At some point, a restructuring might have been more likely, but a quick review of Elliott’s results, as well as the rise of fellow runner Tony Pollard, made the final outcome more predictable.
Unfortunately, that’s how business sometimes works in the NFL.
“Zeke is a guy, this man, he played this game – did everything in this game – right,” Prescott said. “Have fun doing it. But when it was time to focus, when it was time to focus and give everything you had and show your teammates and young guys what really mattered and how to get things done, Zeke was the guy to follow. Just about how to be a professional and how to be a professional with a smile on your face. And enjoy this game and enjoy life.”
Elliott will find his next destination in the coming weeks. Prescott will have to rely on his memories of their time together in Dallas. It didn’t give a title, but it certainly produced a lot of highlights that are worth cherishing.