Cowboys fans will love Ezekiel Elliott's reason for returning to Dallas

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

It was always going to be a difficult adjustment watching Ezekiel Elliott suit up for a different team. Sure enough, Elliott playing for the Patriots last season was tough on the eyes if only because he wasn't in a Dallas Cowboys uniform rocking the No. 21 jersey and taking handoffs from Dak Prescott.

After a year away, Elliott is back with the team that drafted him. He officially signed a one-year contract with the Cowboys worth $3 million, including $2 million guaranteed. Better still? He reclaimed his iconic No. 21 jersey, so fans who held onto their Zeke jersey will get to rep it with pride once again.

Despite being released last March, Elliott's relationship with the Cowboys never wavered. Even after he signed with the Patriots, Elliott always spoke of Dallas in a positive light. He never threw shade or harbored hard feelings.

It never felt like 2023 was Zeke's final chapter with the Cowboy and the franchise's third all-time leading rusher is thrilled to be back.

Ezekiel Elliott had heartfelt message for Cowboys fans after rejoining Dallas

""It feels great to be home. I definitely missed being here. I missed this building. I missed Cowboys' nation. I'm definitely excited and ready to get this thing going.""

Those feelings are reciprocated by a large contingent of Cowboys Nation. Though Elliott isn't the soul-snatching rusher he was in his prime, he's still capable of filling a role in an NFL backfield. It's up to Dallas' front office to find a RB1 -- or a 1A to Elliott's 1B, if you will -- so Zeke isn't asked to do more than he can handle.

It never felt like 2023 was Elliott's final chapter in Dallas. Funnily enough, neither did he. Getting back to the Cowboys was always at the forefront of his mind.

“This was my priority. Doing what I could do to. get back here," Elliott told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I have a lot left to accomplish here. I’m excited to get back with the fellas and chase that ring.”

It's apparent the Cowboys think their revamped offensive line will create more running lanes and therefore they don't need a world-class running back. Elliott might not have the agility or explosion that he did early in his career, but his vision is still second to none. However small, he'll identify a hole and power through it while falling for extra yards after contact.

At the end of the day, signing Elliott isn't a season-saving move. The Cowboys have done a lot wrong this offseason, but Elliott's return does not belong in that category. He can still be effective in a limited role and he's the perfect mentor for the team's youthful collection of running backs.

The nostalgia is just an added bonus. Welcome home, Zeke.

More Cowboys coverage