October 4, 2022

By David Hellman
FOX Sports Dallas Cowboys Writer

OXNARD, Calif. — It feels strange to talk about legacy Ezekiel Elliott.

The Cowboys running back came into the league at age 20 and has been a young player on a veteran team ever since.

Suddenly, it’s year seven, and Elliott — as he was reminded Wednesday — has the second-most rushing yards among active NFL players. His 7,386 career sacks trail only Mark Ingram’s 7,878 among running backs currently in an NFL camp.

Will Ezekiel Elliott return to top form this season?

Will Ezekiel Elliott return to top form this season?

On a scale of 1 to 10, Skip Bayless rates how close Ezekiel Elliott will be to being the best running back in the NFL this season.

Asked if he was eyeing the 2,614 yards needed to break the 10,000-yard mark, Elliott gave a rare look at his personal career goals.

“Honestly, that’s a goal — win a Super Bowl, get a gold jacket,” he said. “It’s hard to get a gold jacket. There’s not a lot of guys with gold jackets who haven’t rushed for 10,000 yards. So he’s definitely up there.”

Throughout his career, Elliott preferred to shift the focus to the team, marking the Cowboys’ long-running quest for a sixth championship. It’s interesting to realize that he’s within 10,000 yards — a mark only 31 NFL running backs have reached.

That’s no guarantee of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but it would be a start. And it would help if Elliott could recapture some of the flashy rushing sets of his early career. He rushed for more than 1,300 yards in three of his first four NFL seasons, but those numbers have dipped to 979 and 1,002 over the past two years.

To get there in two years, he would need to average 1,307 yards over his next two seasons — a mark he believes he can manage.

“Yes, I think so, God willing,” he said.

It will help if Elliott doesn’t put any miles on his legs in the preseason, which sounds like the goal. The three-time Pro Bowler has long limited his snaps to preseason games. With the Cowboys holding joint practices against the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers, it sounds like Elliott will get all the work he needs without much preseason work.

“I’ve been playing football 20 years. I’ve been in the league – this is my seventh year. I’ve seen a lot of football,” Elliott said. “I don’t think I need a warm-up game, especially with the training sessions together.

“You get to go play against another team, you get to see some different looks. It’s not the same defense in every camp. So you’re practicing together, that’s more than enough.”

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports, providing insight and analysis on the NFL’s most visible franchise. Prior to joining FOX, David spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website, DallasCowboys.com. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in the production of “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State.

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