FRISCO - Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has always dismissed questions about individual goals the same way the two-time NFL rushing champion often dismisses potential tacklers.
But now his unselfishness has taken on an additional tone: He wants a Super Bowl trophy and he wants the ball ... But Zeke also wants to do "whatever this team needs me to do to win. That's what I'm going do."
And yes, that even includes the notion of sharing some touches to backup running back Tony Pollard.
"If they ever came to me and asked me to split carries, I'm going to do it,'' Elliott said this week in a visit with "Shan and RJ'' on 105.3 The Fan. "I'm gonna do whatever they ask me to do to win. That's my No. 1 thing.
"I love being the bell cow. I love getting the rock 30 times a game. I do. But whatever this team needs me to do to win that's what I'm going to do."'
Elliott has never necessarily objected to that idea before. But maybe Pollard, a former fourth-round pick now in his second NFL season, has never been ready for such a role before. Or maybe new coach Mike McCarthy is more willing to be creative in this regard than the previous administration.
But no doubt: In this training camp practices here inside The Star, Dallas has lined up with Zeke as the featured back, of course ... but also with Elliott and Pollard in the backfield at the same time.
Some of Pollard's usage might be about extending the career of Elliott, who dishes out (but also takes) a pounding in games.
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Still, as Elliott said, "I've been pretty durable through my career. ... 300 carries every season ... haven't seemed to be slowing down yet.''
True. Once in a while the "lost-a-step'' issue is broached. But that's not revealed in any numbers. In 2019, he rushed for over 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns, while adding 54 catches for 420 yards and two more scores, a continuation of his usual All-Pro work.
So maybe part of this is the readiness of the elusive Pollard, who last year rushed for Pollard rushed for 455 yards on 86 carries and at camp said his biggest improvement is, "My mental aspect of the game. Physically I'm pretty much the same as last year but mentally I'm in a completely different state."
There is also the notion that the Cowboys offense has so many weapons to be utilized by QB Dak Prescott and McCarthy that Zeke's usage may go down a bit. It starts with a trio of star receivers, Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb, but continues to tight end Blake Jarwin and now, to Pollard as well.
But McCarthy has made clear his Elliott-related intentions.
“Zeke,'' he said, is going to get the football. Let’s make no mistake about that.''
And Pollard might get it, too, an idea supported by Elliott. Let's make no mistake about that.