Ezekiel Elliott had another off-field storyline overshadow his on-field play on Thursday night.
At the very least, though, the fourth overall pick out of Ohio State showed he belonged on the field.
Elliott lived up to the hype of being the fourth overall pick, making timely cuts in the run game and picking up blitzes in the pass game over his 15 snaps against the Seattle Seahawks.
He even showed some feistiness when Seattle safety Kam Chancellor delivered a late hit on a pass intended for Elliott that fell incomplete.
“I don’t know what that was,” Elliott said. “That was a little dirty. It’s whatever.”
Said Chancellor: “I was just out there having fun. He lowered his shoulder the first time [on a run] and I commend him for that, but I was just out there having fun. I was just taking on the challenge. I love a challenge. I love a good fight so I was just having fun out there.”
Elliott acknowledged it got pretty chippy between the two teams throughout the game. Elliott even found himself talking a little trash, something he didn’t do too much in college.
“Oh yeah, just the rookie talk,” Elliott said, smiling. “They thought they had to welcome me in because I’m a rookie, so they were giving me all that rookie talk, but I had to let them know I belong here.”
Elliott finished his night with 48 rushing yards on seven carries, playing a total of 15 snaps through the Cowboys’ opening two offensive drives.
Elliott looked particularly good on the second series when the Cowboys opened it with four consecutive rushes. After a 1-yard gain, Elliott rattled off runs of 9, 9 and 13 yards.
Elliott couldn’t think of a particular run that stood out, but seemed pleased with his professional debut. His teammates took notice as well.
“I thought he ran hard, man,” tight end Jason Witten said. “I thought he ran really hard. He was focused. He was determined. That’s a tough, kind of salty D front, D-line there, and he got around the edge and really hit it, went downhill, just good to see him going.
“I know how much he’s worked at it, and the excitement to get him out there. I think he’s going to be a special player and it’s good to see how he played. He finishes runs downhill, which is good for our offense. It’s the way we want to attack.”
Elliott made his preseason debut after nursing a hamstring injury that kept him out two weeks of training camp. He isn’t expected to play again until the regular season opener on Sept. 11 against the New York Giants at AT&T Stadium.
Elliott said he would like to play in the fourth preseason game, but doesn’t think the coaching staff will allow him. But he looked the part in the limited number of snaps he had Thursday, and is going to be counted on heavily after rushing for more than 1,800 yards in each of his final two seasons at Ohio State.
“I think I did a little bit of everything,” Elliott said. “I got into some pass protection, I ran a couple different type of plays, so I think it was a good first run. I’m ready to move forward from this.
“I’ll be ready for Game 1.”