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Ezekiel Elliott: 'I Don't Have A Crystal Ball' - But RB Has Cowboys Future Wish

If it's up to Ezekiel Elliott, he'll be back for an eighth season in the Dallas Cowboys' backfield.

If Ezekiel Elliott does return to the Dallas Cowboys ... it won't be as their center.

Normally asking to be "fed," Elliott did the feeding on Sunday in the form of a bizarre closer to the Cowboys' Divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Presumably placed in a prime position for a desperation lateral, Elliott was the one who snapped the ball to quarterback Dak Prescott and was flattened by the San Francisco pass rush in an ultimately futile effort that failed to get any form of Cal-Stanford replication in Santa Clara, which hosted a 19-12 victory for a 49ers team bound for the NFC title game. 

Elliott's uncanny role in the Cowboys' coda had some wondering if that was literally the final snap he'd take with a star on his helmet, as the coming offseason provides the team a way out of his six-year, $90 million contract inked in 2019. 

While the Cowboys would have to immediately eat over $11.8 million in dead money, they'd escape a $16 million cap hit Elliott carries after posting some of the lowest numbers of his career, including 876 yards on the ground and a 3.8-yard average carry.

If it's up to Elliott, he's not going anywhere. 

"I want to be here," Elliott firmly declared in the aftermath. "I don't have a crystal ball and can't tell the future. But I definitely want to be here."

Our Mike Fisher has reported that the Cowboys would like to retain Elliott under the terms of a restructured - and much more cap-friendly - deal.

If Sunday did mark Elliott's final hours in a Cowboy uniform, his Metroplex tenure ends with a bit of a thud: pressured into larger duties thanks to a major Tony Pollard injury, Elliott was limited to 33 yards on 12 touches (10 for 26 on the ground). He did not touch the ball over the final 13 minutes of action, which saw the Cowboys (13-6) attempt to claw their way back from a touchdown deficit. 

Though Elliott developed a bit of a niche as a short-yardage back amidst his struggles and the increased reliance on Pollard, only one of his six second-half touches created a first down. He was called upon in the red zone when the Cowboys took their first drive of the latter half-hour inside in San Francisco 10, but he was stuffed for a one-yard loss by Nick Bosa and failed to haul in a Dak Prescott throw before Brett Maher knotted the game at 9-all. 

Elliott's impact on Dallas football won't be forgotten: he's third all-time in Cowboy rushing yards (8,262) and touchdowns (68), second only to Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett. But Dallas, left with more questions after yet another Divisional round washout, can likely ill-afford to pay a short-yardage back over seven percent of its 2023 cap, especially with Pollard likely due for a big payday, be it through a long-term deal or a franchise tag.

Barring a restructuring, the Cowboys may be forced to say goodbye. But Elliott has made it clear where he stands on the matter early on. ... crystal ball or not.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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