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Dak Prescott on Dallas Cowboys releasing Ezekiel Elliott: ‘I’m hurt’

Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott have been synonymous with Dallas Cowboys football since they were both selected in the 2016 NFL Draft.

This backfield tandem is among the best known around the football world and has enjoyed some success on the gridiron for Dallas.

It’s now come to an end. Earlier this week, Dallas made the release of Elliott official after seven seasons. The running back now hits free agency with a ton of questions about his future in the NFL after some major regression over the past couple seasons.

Dallas’ current franchise quarterback opened up Thursday about the departure of his longtime teammate. For Prescott, this loss is about a lot more than just football itself. He was certainly emotional in talking about the Cowboys moving on from Elliott.

“It’s tough. I am playing a game with a brother. Being able to start our NFL careers and share so many memories. Grow up as men with this organization. I really can’t imagine taking the field without him. I don’t know if it has completely hit me yet. Obviously, I’ve talked to him. I’m hurt. I am sure he is. But it’s more important for me to be able to support him.”

Dak Prescott on the Dallas Cowboys releasing Ezekiel Elliott

The reigning NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year, Prescott has been a fixture within the Dallas’ community throughout his career. He’s gone to bat for Elliott several times, including when the latter was suspended six games after allegations of domestic violence.

Sometimes, we forget the bond that these players share. As for Elliott and Prescott, said bond runs pretty deep.

Related: Dak Prescott and the NFL’s highest-paid QBs of 2023

Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys move on without Ezekiel Elliott

dallas cowboys, dak prescott, tony pollard
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

From a financial and on-field standpoint, it made perfect sense for Dallas to release Elliott. The veteran running back held a $16.7 million cap hit for the 2023 season. By designating Elliott a post-June 1 cut, Dallas saved a cool $10.9 million of that.

The 27-year-old back is also coming off a career-worst performance that saw him average a mere 3.8 yards per rush while putting up less than 900 yards on the ground.

Dallas’ decision to franchise fellow running back Tony Pollard earlier in the offseason was a clear indication that Elliott’s time with the organization was over. Pollard, 25, played much better than his older counterpart last season. The former Memphis star tallied nearly 1,400 total yards and 12 touchdowns en route to earning his first ever Pro Bowl nod.

Related: Ideal Ezekiel Elliott landing spots in NFL free agency

What’s next for Ezekiel Elliott?

dallas cowboys' ezekiel elliott
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

At this point in his career, Zeke is probably nothing more than a RB2 and short-yardage option. Despite his struggles last season, Elliott was still able to put up 12 rushing touchdowns. That was his most since the Ohio State product scored 15 as a rookie back in 2016.

Contending teams will have interest in someone who can move the chains on third-and-short. This is pretty much what Elliott brings to the table after being seen as one of the most-dynamic running backs of the modern era earlier in his career.

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