Dallas Cowboys

Ezekiel Elliott says breaking rookie rushing mark would be special

Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates with teammate Dez Bryant (88) after Elliott’s touchdown run in the first half against the Bucs.
Ezekiel Elliott (21) celebrates with teammate Dez Bryant (88) after Elliott’s touchdown run in the first half against the Bucs. kbouaphanh@Star-Telegram.com

For the first time, Ezekiel Elliott acknowledged that breaking Eric Dickerson’s rookie rushing record would be “special.” The rookie running back needs 258 yards in the final two games to break Dickerson’s league mark set in 1983 for the Rams.

“It would be special, just to know I had the best rookie season a running back has had in this league, especially a record that’s been however old it is. I don’t know,” Elliott said. “It’s definitely way older than me. It would be special. [But] I can think of something more special than that.”

Elliott’s big game against the Bucs, when he set a new career high with 159 yards on 23 carries, got him within striking distance of Dickerson. Elliott’s 1,551 rushing yards lead the league, 327 more than Tennessee’s DeMarco Murray, who ranks second.

That gives Elliott a 110.8 average this season. He needs to average 129 yards in the final two games.

“You think about it, but it can’t be something you focus on,” Elliott said of Dickerson’s record. “You’ve got to be focused on winning ball games because that’s all that matters. Like I’ve said millions of times, you go out there, you win, great things will happen.”

The Cowboys will clinch the division title and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs Thursday if the Giants lose to the Eagles. If the Giants win, the Cowboys can clinch with a victory over the Lions on Monday.

It could leave Elliott on the bench for at least part of the final game.

“It’s really not my decision, one,” Elliott said. “Two, I’m just here to do what they tell me to do. I think there’s a shot to get that, the rookie rushing record, but it’s not worth risking what we have the opportunity to do as a team, and I wouldn’t want to risk getting it for something we have the opportunity to go and play for a Super Bowl. It’s all going to be team-oriented. Whatever they think is best for our team, then that’s what’s going to happen.”

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