The Dallas Cowboys marked the end of an era earlier this week, announcing the release of longtime running back Ezekiel Elliott after a seven-season tenure. That stint with Dallas coincided with that of quarterback Dak Prescott, as the pair were each selected by the Cowboys in the 2016 NFL Draft. Prescott and Elliott are famously close friends, and on Thursday, Prescott spoke to reporters about what Elliott's release meant to him.
"It's tough," Prescott said, per The Athletic. "A brother, playing the game with a brother, being able to start this NFL career and share so many memories, and grew up as men with this organization ... I really can't imagine taking the field without him, something I don't know if it's completely hit me yet."
Prescott has taken the field for just 10 games without Elliott, who for the first four years of his career was one of the NFL's best running backs. Elliott led the league in total rushing yards twice, and rushing yards per game in each of his first three NFL seasons. His slow decline began in 2020, and he was outplayed by Tony Pollard over the past few years. His contract made his position in Dallas going forward untenable, and the Cowboys admitted defeat and cut ties by designating him as a post-June 1 release.
Elliott now begins looking for future employment away from Dallas, and Prescott noted that he has discussed the prospect with his friend and former teammate. "Obviously I've talked to him. I'm hurt, I'm sure he is, but it's more important for me just to be able to support him, I know he's got more opportunities coming his way," Prescott said.
Elliott's release is just one of many significant changes the Cowboys' offense has already made this offseason, along with switching out a large portion of the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is gone, as are running backs coach Skip Peete, quarterbacks coach Doug Nussmeier, and offensive line coach Joe Philbin, among others. Heading into Year 4 of the Mike McCarthy era and Year 8 of Prescott's career, it's clear that things are set to be looking quite different in Dallas.