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Jerry Jones credits ‘inspirational’ Ezekiel Elliott for Cowboys’ success

The Dallas Cowboys have already secured the NFC East title heading into a Week 17 showdown with the New York Giants. The remarkable turnaround following a disappointing 2017 campaign can be attributed to many factors, and Jerry Jones believes Ezekiel Elliott is chief among them.

The Cowboys owner/general manager not surprisingly credited the acquisition of Amari Cooper and the development of rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, among other things, as the source of the Cowboys’ success this season. Jones, however, saved much of his praise for the “inspirational” Elliott.

“Zeke Elliott, he has absolutely had a phenomenal, an impactful year, and that’s not being trite,” Jones said during an appearance Friday on 105.3 The Fan [KRLD-FM], as transcribed by the Dallas Morning News. “After last year after we had the ambiguity with him and how he was going to be able to participate [because of a six-game NFL suspension]. So I put Zeke Elliott as beyond expectations.”

As Jones notes, Elliott’s sophomore season in 2017 was torpedoed by a suspension that loomed over him much of the season, one that was ultimately levied following a lengthy appeal process.

Jones insists the Cowboys kept their faith in Elliott despite the off-the-field distractions due to how the young running back conducted himself behind the scenes going back to his rookie year.

“Zeke has been inspirational for this team since the day he got there, both on the field and the things that he brings to the team,” Jones said, adding how Elliott, like most young people, always have a lot of growing up to do after leaving college.

What Elliott has contributed on the gridiron, though, should not be understated. The third-year back is poised for an NFL rushing title with 1,434 yards heading into Week 17, although he has stated he’s pursuing far loftier goals.

The Cowboys organization were extremely supportive of Elliott during his protracted suspension saga, and expressed overwhelming confidence after the fact that the running back learned a valuable lesson from it. It would appear the Cowboys’ faith in Elliott has paid huge dividends during this drama-free season.