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Former Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott reportedly re-joins Cowboys in free agency



Photo by Danielle Parhizkaran/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Veteran running back Ezekiel Elliott will not be back with the New England Patriots in 2023. According to a report by NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the 28-year-old will re-join the Dallas Cowboys as a free agent.


Elliott joined the Patriots last August, five months after the Cowboys originally released him. Starting his career in New England as a complementary back alongside Rhamondre Stevenson, he eventually took over as the main running back down the stretch.


With Stevenson nursing injuries and appearing in just 12 of 17 games, Elliott finished the season as the Patriots’ leader in both carries (184) and receptions (51), and also ranked tops among his teammates in yards from scrimmage (955). He also found the end zone on five different occasions.


Nonetheless, the team decided not to retain him after the expiration of his one-year, $3 million contract in mid-March. Instead, he will now re-join the club he already called home from 2016 to 2022.


Elliott started his career as the fourth overall selection in the 2016 draft. The Ohio State product quickly burst onto the scene, rushing for a league-leading 1,631 yards and getting voted first-team All-Pro as a rookie. He remained a productive member of the Cowboys offense for the next several seasons, but after a career-best 2,001 scrimmage yards in 2018 saw his production decrease each year.


By 2022, he shared the workload with Tony Pollard and as a result had the least productive statistical season of his career up until that point. The following March, the Cowboys released Elliott — paving the way for him to join the Patriots.


Now, the two will go their separate ways again. With Elliott out of the picture, New England’s running back corps stands at six deep. The aforementioned Rhamondre Stevenson is joined by free agency acquisition Antonio Gibson, undrafted rookie DeShaun Fenwick, and returning veterans Kevin Harris, JaMycal Hasty and Ke’Shawn Vaughn.



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