However, his production has gone south since signing that massive deal, and the fact that he's coming off an injury-plagued season only makes him more difficult to trust going forward:
I mean, I was hurt last year, but it's football, after Week 1 no one is going to be 100%. That's part of the game, Elliott told NFL.com. I think I knew I was tough, I think I knew I could play through injuries. it was definitely tough, but hey, it's my job.
Zeke Takes Pride In His Toughness
Zeke acknowledges that he's got something to prove this season. Last year was a test of his toughness and character, and, all things considered, he's satisfied with how he dealt with that adversity:
“I mean, shoot, I think I knew I was tough,’’ Elliott said. “I think I knew I could play through injuries, so… It was definitely tough. But I mean, it’s my job.’ Toughness to me means regardless of circumstance, regardless of what you’re going up against,’’ Elliott added. “you’re going out there and giving your all.’’
It's Now Or Never For Zeke
But the clock is ticking for Zeke. He's likely entering his final year as a Cowboy, and not many people would be interested in his services unless he can prove he's healthy.
In fact, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk recently stated that he wouldn't even be a part of the team if it wasn't for the massive deal they signed him to:
Ezekiel Elliott definitely has something to prove, Florio said. Look, the contract is what saved him. He would not be a member of the Dallas Cowboys right now, barring a dramatic reduction in pay. He signed the contract a year that he held out and we advocated for it. Yes, we did say get your money while you can. It's up to the team to figure it out on the back end. But the guarantees vest a year in advance and his salary this year is fully guaranteed and invested in 2021. That's the way you do a contract. You guarantee the money into a year beyond the current one, and it ties the team's hand and they're stuck. They're stuck.
Elliott was one of the most impactful backs in the league when healthy. Whether he can go back to that level and help Dak Prescott's offense or not that's yet to be seen.