The Cowboys are still counting on the bruising Elliott for the tough yards — a career-best streak of nine consecutive games with at least one rushing touchdown this season proves it.
Elliott also is one of the best pass-blocking backs in the NFL, and has played through injuries in recent years. Elliott has missed just three games because of injury in his seven seasons.
“He wants to do whatever he can,” Prescott said. “Whether it’s be (Pollard’s) biggest cheerleader, whether lead blocking for (Pollard) or a receiver on a reverse or blocking a D-lineman for me for that half extra second or trying to pick up two guys. If they ask him to play defense and rush the passer, I guarantee he wouldn’t hesitate.”
Elliott’s contract isn’t really suitable for a utility guy. It’s been more than three years since he signed a $90 million, six-year extension, and the total amount of the deal still hasn’t been exceeded by another running back.
The $50 million in guaranteed money runs out after this season, which means the Cowboys can cut Elliott without severe penalties under the salary cap. He also could return on a pay cut.
Elliott has said he’ll wait until after the season to think about his contract, or his future with a club that also had Pro Football Hall of Famer and NFL all-time rushing leader Emmitt Smith.
The focus for now is trying to improve on the 1-3 playoff record Prescott and Elliott share. Smith won three Super Bowls with quarterback Troy Aikman and receiver Michael Irvin.
Considering he and Prescott carried the Cowboys to the No. 1 seed in the NFC as rookies, Elliott has said several times he’s surprised they have just one postseason victory.
If their time together ends with a 1-4 postseason mark, the disappointment would be palpable.
Dallas is in the playoffs in consecutive years for the first time with Prescott and Elliott, and coming off a 23-17 home wild-card loss to San Francisco last season.
“I think there’s a sense of urgency,” Elliott said. “I think the team got a little breath of life that playoffs is here. I like the look in the guys’ eyes.”
Prescott counts on Elliott’s read of the locker room, where they’ve been neighbors since the club’s practice facility opened their rookie year.
Prescott started from the beginning of his first season after Tony Romo was injured in the preseason.
Before Romo’s injury, Prescott was a somewhat forgotten fourth-round pick overshadowed by Elliott, but the former Mississippi State standout was the one with a car.
“So it just kind of happened naturally, becoming best friends,” Prescott said.
And now, fellow leaders, regardless of production.
“When you talk about brotherhood and culture, Zeke as much as anybody in that locker room should get that credit,” Prescott said. “For being able to be light and have fun but at the same time lock in, if you want to see a guy who’s done it better than anyone, that’s him.”
On the field, it’s a different version of Elliott these days.