Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott returns to Arlington this weekend as the New England Patriots face the Cowboys on Sunday.
Elliott, who spent seven seasons with the Cowboys, became the franchise’s third-leading rusher with 8,262 rushing yards and scoring the third-most rushing touchdowns (68). After a career-worst year, he was released in the offseason and signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in August.
“It’s going to be fun,” Elliott told ESPN. “I’m excited to go back to Dallas, a place where I have so much history, my home in the offseason. It will be cool to get back in AT&T [Stadium].”
In his first year with New England, Elliott has had to adjust to being part of more of a committee-based backfield approach, playing second fiddle to ex-Oklahoma running back Rhamondre Stevenson. Elliott has 122 yards this season with no touchdowns.
For his career, Elliott is currently the NFL’s 43rd all-time leading rusher and second among active running backs, scoring the fifth-most touchdowns among all active NFL players.
“I know that he was one of the best teammates that I’ve had the privilege of seeing on the Cowboys,” Dallas owner Jerry Jones said during a local radio appearance earlier this week. “For his team, he was inspirational. He was inspirational before the game, [and] his practice habits were off the charts.”
Jones declined to provide any details on potential plans to recognize Elliott’s Dallas career, saying he did not want to ruin any surprises. However, he did address the possible impact Elliott’s absence has had on the Cowboys’ red zone woes.
“Zeke’s unique physicalness is always nice to have,” Jones explained. “To be trite about it, it’s very good to have. We think of physical on short-yardage and probably should, but I do not think that physicalness from the running back is contributing to us not getting in the end zone.”
Elliott and the Patriots (1-2) play the Cowboys (2-1) at 3:25 p.m. CT on Sunday.