Alfred Morris was watching the NFL Draft when the Dallas Cowboys selected Ezekiel Elliott with the fourth overall pick. Morris welcomes the Ohio State running back despite what it might mean for him.
The addition of Elliott creates a crowded running backs room with veterans Morris, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar now fighting for what might end up being three jobs behind Elliott.
“I’m used to it,” Morris said. “It’s a business at the end of the day. Competition only makes us better, so I get excited about it. It’s definitely going to be a big challenge, but I’m excited. Looking forward to it. The only sad part, the downside to it, is that one of us guys is going to be gone. We already have a good group of guys who are there, and they’re going to add one to that. It’s going to change. The room’s going to change. I’m sure it’s already changed a lot since last year. It’s going to change even more now adding another first-round guy like that to the room.”
Morris made his first personal appearance as a member of the Cowboys, joining several teammates at the team’s 12th annual Taste of the NFL to tackle childhood hunger. He has no regrets about signing a two-year deal with the Cowboys in free agency.
“None at all,” Morris said. “This is where I’m supposed to be, and I’m excited about the opportunity and looking forward to it.”
Morris was coming off his third consecutive 1,000-yard season a year ago when the Redskins drafted Florida running back Matt Jones in the third round. Morris ended up splitting snaps with Jones and Chris Thompson, a fifth-round pick in 2013. Last season, Morris got 385 offensive snaps, Jones 340 and Thompson 274.
“Two years in a row. I’m used to it,” Morris said with a chuckle.
The Cowboys kept four running backs on their active roster most of last season, though the names kept changing. McFadden was the team’s only running back on the roster all 16 games.
Now, they have other new names with Morris and Elliott.
“We’re going to promote competition on our football team,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Sunday night. “It’s our job to try to bring the best players to our team, and everybody understands that, and we make that abundantly clear, and certainly it’s our job to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. To have a guy like Zeke Elliott available to us to draft him, we think that helps our team. But to also have Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris and Lance Dunbar and some of the other guys there, it’s a really healthy running back room, and we’re excited about all those guys.”
Morris, 27, rushed for 4,713 yards and 29 touchdowns in Washington. The Cowboys signed him to complement McFadden but ended up drafting Elliott.
“Alfred is just a really good football player,” Garrett said. “We’ve had an up close and personal look at him for the last four years. We’re just so excited to have him as a part of our team. A really productive back for Washington, and by all accounts, just the absolute right kind of guy. We had such great reports on him as a person, the kind of teammate he is, and in the time he’s been around since the start of the offseason program, you certainly see that every day. We’re excited to have him on our team. We’re excited about the competition at the running back position.”