Ezekiel Elliott brushing off Cowboys release is exactly why he's beloved by fans

Sep 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott (15)
Sep 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott (15) / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys need to turn the page after they were humiliated by Arizona in Week 3. Luckily, they have another winnable game this Sunday as they face the 1-2 Patriots, which marks Ezekiel Elliott's return to AT&T Stadium.

It's going to be an emotional week for Elliott, Dak Prescott and all of Elliott's former Cowboys teammates.

That will go out the window once the game starts, obviously, but Elliott was the face of the franchise alongside Dak (and later Micah Parsons) for seven years before he was released this offseason in a cap-saving move.

Surely Elliott didn't expect to face Dallas -- let alone return to his old stomping grounds -- this early into the regular season. NFL script writers really nailed this one, but Elliott kept it classy ahead of what will be an emotional Sunday.

Patriots RB Ezekiel Elliott was all class discussing Cowboys release before Week 4 matchup

Here's what Elliott said of his release from the Cowboys.

"I was definitely disappointed, but everything happens for a reason. 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. No one wants to leave the team they’re with, but more importantly, I’m very happy with where I’m at."

What a classy answer from the two-time rushing champ. Elliott always said the right things to the media during his time in Dallas. He took accountability after losses even when it wasn't called for and never threw a teammate or coach under the bus. His loss on the field goes without saying, even though he's no longer a top-level back, but the Cowboys' locker room lost a great teammate who led by example.

After struggling in the Patriots' first two games, Elliott turned back the clock in New England's win against the Jets. He took 16 carries for a season-high 80 yards, which was his most yardage in a game since Week 11 of last season.

Zeke also vastly outperformed Patriots starter Rhamondre Stevenson, who managed 59 rushing yards on 19 carries (3.9 YPC). The ex-Cowboy is surely high on confidence ahead of his return to his former longtime home.

We're anxious to see how Bill Belichick and the Pats use Elliott this Sunday. Conversely, it'll be interesting to see Dan Quinn's plan to stop the former All-Pro. There's familiarity on both sides, so it makes for a compelling chess match.

It was definitely time to move on, but Elliott personifying class discussing his release is exactly why fans (still) adore him and hated to see him go.

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