For Ezekiel Elliott, it started as something that sounded funny in his head but likely wasn’t going to come to fruition.
But he decided to go for it and sported a crop top on the red carpet at the NFL Draft on Thursday night. Almost instantly, social media became buzzing about Elliott baring his midriff.
“At first, it started as a joke,” Elliott said. “But I started thinking, ‘Hmmm, what if I actually did it?’ I stepped out on a limb and I did it. I think it was pretty funny.”
That served as a light-hearted moment for the Ohio State standout as the next couple hours were filled with wonderment.
Elliott knew the Dallas Cowboys had interest in him, but didn’t know if he would be their choice with the fourth overall pick. So, when the Cowboys went on the clock, Elliott’s guess as to whether he’d be taken was as good as anybody watching.
It wasn’t until the Cowboys had about 30 seconds left until Elliott knew he was going to be a Cowboy.
“From my visits, I got the feeling they liked me, but honestly I didn’t know they were going to select me until those last 30 seconds,” Elliott said. “I was getting real nervous. When I finally got that call, I knew it.”
Elliott described himself as “all over the place” when getting the initial call from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He had just seen his college teammate and friend Joey Bosa go a pick earlier to the San Diego Chargers, and Elliott wasn’t sure when he’d follow.
Once the Cowboys made it official, though, Elliott couldn’t help but get emotional.
“I kind of lost it,” he said. “I dropped my phone and almost burst into tears. But I ended up holding it together. I went around the table and hugged my family and called back. I started talking to Mr. Jones and they’re excited for me to come down.”
McFadden endorses pick
Darren McFadden had no issues with Elliott joining the backfield group, taking to his Twitter account to welcome the newest Cowboy.
“Congrats Zeke!! Welcome to the @dallascowboys,” McFadden wrote on his handle, @dmcfadden20. “Excited to have you in the RB room. We gonna run ‘em off the field!”
McFadden posted the fourth-most rushing yards in the league a year ago, becoming the No. 1 option midway through the season for troubled Joseph Randle. McFadden, who turns 29 in August, finished the season with 1,089 rushing yards on 239 carries.
McFadden has shown to be a team-first player in his short time with the Cowboys. He had similar thoughts when the Cowboys signed Alfred Morris earlier this off-season.
The Cowboys cleared up a couple business items with their offensive linemen early on Thursday.
They picked up the fifth-year option on center Travis Frederick, and had reserve guard Ronald Leary sign his restricted free agent tender.
Frederick, who has developed into a Pro Bowl center, will make $8.8 million in 2017. The Cowboys could explore doing a long-term deal with their 2013 first-round pick to lower his cap hit.
Leary, meanwhile, signed his tender of $2.553 million. The Cowboys could look at trade possibilities for the veteran guard who skipped the first week of the off-season program.
The deadline for another team to sign Leary had passed, leaving him little option but to sign the tender. Leary started every game in 2013 and 2014 and won the starting job going into last season. But he eventually lost it to rookie La’el Collins midway through the season.