Ezekiel Elliott was back at The Star yesterday, officially making his return to the 8-6 Dallas Cowboys ahead of two must-win regular season games against the Seahawks and Eagles. Winners of three straight without Elliott, the Cowboys are proving they belong in the discussion of the league's top teams – even as their playoff hopes depend on help from others around the NFC.
With Ezekiel Elliott at running back, considering the Cowboys as contenders becomes a much more universal thought. Even still, as Elliott stood in front of the media for the first time in front of his locker yesterday, reporters shamelessly could not help him move on from a reputation-damaging investigation that saw the NFL reach new heights in making a statement by sidelining one of their most visible stars.
Entitled, arrogant and completely unnecessary. The way Zeke handled today's joke of a presser shows why he thinks he can do whatever he wants, when he wants. He either received terrible PR advice or just doesn't get it. Full rant Thurs morning @1053thefan: https://t.co/sjbEQEWWWf
Ezekiel Elliott does not owe any of us anything. His job as a Dallas Cowboy, in the words of his Head Coach, is to compete and fight to be the best player he can every day. For six week's worth of game days, this right was taken away from Elliott as he fought this off-field battle as hard as he could.
The media also has a job to do, which makes asking Elliott about his time spent during the suspension fair game until he stated otherwise. Zeke chose to cut the interview session short after explicitly saying he was prepared to talk about the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys – with questions continuing to pour in about his suspension.
In other words, Ezekiel Elliott is ready to get back to work. At least within the confines of his own locker room and team facility, this work should not presently include trying to defend his name and alter his public perception – two things already tarnished by Roger Goodell's reactionary machine of a football league.
The Dallas Cowboys' organization fully supports Ezekiel Elliott, and Cowboys Nation must understand the resources this team has committed to him. Any prospect taken in the top five is going to be put under the most intense microscope by their drafting team.
Drafting a running back following a 4-12 campaign, the Cowboys felt comfortable taking a player in Elliott that had found success at every level in his career, exiting Ohio State as a national champion.
Perhaps it is the fact that the Cowboys have found ways to win with Alfred Morris and Rod Smith recently, but Ezekiel Elliott playing football again is about an exciting of a week 16 development as you'll ever see.
Elliott's focus is on doing just that – while finding ways to make good with his teammates, coaches, and the Cowboys – one practice, game, and snap at a time.
Zeke told me the reason his meeting with the media was so brief was because the media was not respecting his wishes of focusing on the future rather than the past. He told me that's why he trained in Cabo… so that he wouldn't be a distraction.
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) December 20, 2017
This is what football players do, this is the Cowboys' culture. The fact that this very article had to be written on Zeke's first night back is a horrifying reminder of why Ezekiel Elliott fought as hard as he did to get back to doing what he does best.
Let's all watch the Dallas Cowboys play football on Sunday with Ezekiel Elliott, shall we?