ZEKE SPEAKS: Cowboys running back opens up about fumbles, vaccine controversy

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott participating in the team's first practice in Oxnard, California on Thursday, July 22, 2021.
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott participating in the team's first practice in Oxnard, California on Thursday, July 22, 2021. (KSAT)

OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys are finally back on the field for the first practice of training camp, and star running back Ezekiel Elliott finally met with the media for the first time this offseason.

“Everyone is treating me pretty well today,” Elliott said. “It was great to have fans out there today. I don’t think I’ve ever had that many people sing me happy birthday at once though.”

Elliott turned 26 years old today, and said Dak got him a present -- a diamond bracelet. He remarked that he’s still waiting on the rest of his gifts.

But Elliott is also hoping to give back to the team with a better overall performance. Coming off the worst season of his career, he admitted that he has something to prove to his teammates and fans. At the conclusion of the 2020 season, Elliott finished with only 939 yards in 15 games, the worst output of his career, and he fumbled the ball away 4 times.

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott addresses the media for the first time this offseason on Wednesday, July 22, 2021. (KSAT)

Holding on to the rock is a big emphasis heading into 2021.

“When you carry the ball, you carry the hope of the whole team, the whole organization, the whole fan base, and coughing it up and giving it to other teams means you’re letting everyone down,” Elliott stated. “That’s the number one thing, my focus this year: protecting the ball.”

In an effort to return to form rushing for over 1,300 yards per season, Elliott added that he has trimmed down to 218 pounds, the same weight as his freshman year at Ohio State. He was also asked if he had been vaccinated.

“I did get the vaccine. I got the vaccine just because I wanted to put myself in the best situation to be out there for my team week in and week out.”

Additionally, Elliott revealed that his family did not traditionally get vaccinated over the years. This experience is new territory for him.

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About the Author:

Greg Simmons is the sports director and a sports anchor for KSAT 12.