For the majority of Ezekiel Elliott’s time in the league he has been recognized as one of the premier running backs in the National Football League.
Three of his first four years saw him topple 1,300 yards rushing – with the lone exception coming in 2017 when he was handed a six-game suspension.
For the first time in his professional career, Elliott played at least 15 games and failed to reach the 1,000-yard mark. Along with the drop in production came an increase in fumbles (6).
“I’ve never been a fumbler,” Elliott said when asked what his No. 1 focus is this season. “When you carry the ball, you kind of carry the whole hope of the whole team, organization and fan base. If you cough it up and give it to the other team, you’re letting everyone down.”
His propensity for turnovers, along with him failing to reach 1,000 yards, led NFL.com to rank Elliott as the sixth best running back entering the 2021 season.
He fell behind first-ranked Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook and Nick Chubb.
The motivation to reclaim his spot as a top back has shown itself through his offseason training videos and in his new physique. Coaches and media members were in awe of the sixth year pro’s new build as he shoots for a bounce back year.
He says he’s down from about 225 pounds to 218 this year.
“Just having the year I had last year. You don’t need more motivation than that,” Elliott said. “I just know the type of player I am. I don’t think I showed that last year. I got a lot to prove. I just made sure I didn’t leave any doubt out there that I didn’t do as much as I needed to do.”
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