Ezekiel Elliott’s Unwillingness To Take A Backup Role Is The Reason He’s Still Available, Says His Former RB Coach

Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is still unsigned after being released by the Cowboys after seven seasons. And while Elliott has declined from the every-down multi-dimensional back that took the league by storm in 2016 out of Ohio State, he’s still very serviceable and could be a nice complementary piece in the right system. 

But, for a player that’s been at the top of his position since he came into the league, taking that demotion seems to be holding up Elliott from latching on with another team. To go from the man to being one of the men is never easy, and the belief is Elliott may not be receptive to such. In fact his former running backs coach the past three seasons in Dallas, Skip Pete,  says that’s exactly Zeke is still available on the free agent market.

Peete Says Zeke Needs To Accept Smaller Role And Bag

In an interview with via the Tampa Bay Times, Peete mentioned how he recently talked with his former pupil and told him his best chance to return to the field is in a lesser role. 

“I think that’s part of the reason he’s sitting out. If you’re going to play, I mean, you’re going to be the second or third guy. That’s kind of what the price is. So that’s something that a person has to be able to see that that is what it is going to be.”

When Elliott was released in March, Peete mentioned that while he went along with the Cowboys pretty much using him in the role that he’d be accepting with a new team, he definitely fought against the change. Teammate Tony Pollard became more of the featured back with his explosiveness and big play ability. Plus he was a cheaper player at the position going forward. 

Peete also said he believes Elliott is still very good, just not an every-down back anymore. 

“I think Zeke is still a good, quality back,” Peete said. “He’s playing 50 percent of the snaps, so your numbers aren’t not the same, that’s natural. But he still scored 12 touchdowns. He still caught the ball well. He still had numerous third-and-1, and short-and-goal-line places where he helped us win games. He’s still a physical load.”

Elliott Leaves Dallas The Franchise’s Third All-Time Leading Rusher

Elliott was the No. 4 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, and he didn’t disappoint from the jump. In his career he rushed for over 8,200 yards and 68 touchdowns. In his seven-year Cowboys career, Zeke reached the 1000-yard plateau four times, and nearly reached it the other three seasons, coming up 17, 21 and 124 yards short in those seasons. 

His numbers are good enough for third all time on the franchise’s rushing yards list behind Pro Football Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett. In fact, Smith and Dorsett rank first and eleventh all-time on the NFL’s rushing yards list. Elliott ranks 43rd. 

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