Jerry Jones, Cowboys planning to honor Ezekiel Elliott in RB’s return to AT&T Stadium: Report
Ezekiel Elliot spent seven years with the Dallas Cowboys before being released from the team during the 2023 NFL offseason. He established himself as one of the greatest running backs in the Cowboys' storied franchise history.
In Week 4 of the 2023 NFL season, Elliot will play his first game at AT&T Stadium as a member of the visiting team. The Cowboys host the New England Patriots, his new team this year, in one of the most highly-anticipated matchups of the week.
It will be strange for Cowboys fans to see their former superstar RB in a different team's uniform, but they will surely give him a warm welcome. He left the franchise on good terms, being cut as mostly a salary cap casualty.
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones appears to be planning something special for Ezekiel Elliot. According to Cowboys reporter Jon Machota, Jones was asked during an interview on "The FAN" if he would honor Elliot in his return to Dallas during their Week 4 game.
"I don't want to blow a surprise."
Jones' response says nothing and everything, all at the same time. He declined to elaborate on any details or even confirm that they had planned anything, but his response essentially confirms that something can be expected.
Ezekiel Elliot deserves some special reception, as he ranks third all-time in Cowboys history for rushing yards and touchdowns, trailing only Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett.
Jerry Jones suggests he misses having Ezekiel Elliot with the Cowboys this year
The Dallas Cowboys made major changes to their offensive structure ahead of the 2023 NFL season. In addition to releasing Ezekiel Elliot, they fired offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and handed the play-calling duties over to head coach Mike McCarthy. The organization also claimed it would shift its philosophy to run the ball more than they have in the past few years.
During the same interview on "The FAN," Jerry Jones was asked if he was happy with the changes so far, to which he responded:
"I want to see more to use the word 'happy.' But let me be real clear: I think with what we're trying to do is really doable. We certainly have the personnel to execute on it."
Jones also added:
"I think the thing we need to zero in on is when we get that ball down in there close, we've got to get touchdowns. And that's probably across the board over these last three ball games."
This is an interesting observation, considering this was Elliot's specialty in their offense during recent years. He scored 22 rushing touchdowns for the Cowboys over the past two seasons, many of which were the result of pounding the ball in the red zone.
Jones took note of how Elliot succeeded in this role:
"As far as a back that the opposing team hates to tackle, I think he's at the top of the list. Zeke took a toll on those defensive players. I'll always remember that."
The Cowboys declined to truly replace Elliot with another short-yardage specialist, which has shown in their results so far during the 2023 NFL season. After three games, they are 27th in red zone scoring efficiency, scoring a touchdown on just 40% of their opportunities.
Dallas led the entire NFL in this same statistic last season at an impressive 71.43%. Ezekiel Elliot is one of the main reasons why.