FOXBORO -- Ezekiel Elliott is coming off his most productive game in a Patriots uniform in Sunday's win over the Jets. Next up, the running back will return to the place he called home for seven seasons.
Elliott and the 1-2 Patriots will head to Dallas for a Week 4 matchup with the Cowboys next Sunday. Elliott was drafted by the Cowboys with the fourth overall pick in 2014 and racked up a lot of rushing yards over his seven years in Dallas. He led everyone in the NFL with yards on the ground in 2016, and earned an All-Pro nod and three Pro Bowl trips during his time in Dallas.
The Cowboys opted to move on from the 28-year-old this offseason, and he didn't sign with the Patriots this summer until training camp was already underway. It took him a few weeks into the regular season to get going, but Elliott led New England with 80 rushing yards in Sunday's win, averaging five yards on his 16 carries for the day.
A return to AT&T will be special for Elliott on a few different levels, he explained after Sunday's win in New Jersey. He won a national championship on that field with Ohio State. He still lives in Dallas during the offseason and loved to play in front of Dallas fans. He's happy to get another chance to do so on Sunday.
He'll also have a big group on hand to watch him play, with his parents, girlfriend, grandmother, and several other friends set to be at AT&T Stadium on Sunday.
"It's going to be fun. I'm excited to go back to Dallas, a place where I have so much history, my home in the offseason," Elliott said after New England's win over the Jets.
But he isn't going to let the moment become too big. Once the game kicks off, it'll just be football as usual.
"I'm looking at it as any other week. Just another game," he said.
Elliott hinted that he was hoping that he would be a lifelong member of the Cowboys. But he was also very quick to say that he's happy to be in New England.
"I was definitely disappointed, but everything happens for a reason," he said. "God has his plan for us. I'm excited for this next chapter in my life. I'm excited to be a Patriot. I'm excited to go chase a Super Bowl here."
And the Patriots are happy to have him behind Rhamondre Stevenson on the depth chart.
"Zeke's done a good job for us," Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Sunday. "I think we're getting a little bit of a feel for some of the things with him and vice versa. I thought he had a couple of real good runs [against the Jets]. We'll look at the film and look a little more carefully, but I thought he did a nice job, he got his pads down. Got some tough yards. His vision was good on a couple of cut-back plays."
Stevenson is still the bell cow out of the New England backfield, but has yet to find his footing three games into the new season. On Sunday, in a soggy and windy game in New Jersey, the Patriots needed a running back to step up.
Elliott was that guy, and it looks like he's off and running just in time for his return trip to Dallas.
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