FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is feeling rested and fresh entering Saturday’s wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks after sitting out of the regular-season finale.
“Normally after a real game I’m not feeling ready to play until about Friday, Saturday, but I’m ready to go right now,” Elliott said after Tuesday’s practice.
The Cowboys opted to sit Elliott in their win against the New York Giants after he had 304 carries for a league-best 1,434 rushing yards and a team-best 77 receptions for 567 yards in 15 games. He had been dealing with nagging injuries throughout the season.
Elliott said the coaches broached the subject of rest the day before the Giants game after he prepared as though he would play a normal amount.
“He’s obviously touched the football a lot for us,” coach Jason Garrett said. “When you carry the ball 25 or 30 times a game, you might get hit 90 to 100 times in the game, particularly a guy like that who makes people miss and breaks tackles and all of that. So he carries a big burden for our offense. He embraces that, but any time you can give him rest, I think it’s a good thing for him, and hopefully he can come back fresher than ever.”
Elliott tied for the NFL lead in 100-yard-rushing games and finished second in scrimmage yards to Saquon Barkley, 2,028 to 2,001. The Cowboys do not hide the fact that they want to give him the ball a lot.
“Just knowing that we’re going into these playoffs, I’m going to have the highest workload I probably had all season,” Elliott said. “Just great, getting fresh and ready going into this last stretch of the season and ready for whatever they throw at me.”
Elliott made his playoff debut as a rookie in 2016 and had 125 yards in the divisional-round loss to the Green Bay Packers.
“It’s hard to make the playoffs in the NFL, so I mean that’s what makes the moment that much more important,” Elliott said. “But I live for these moments. Love it. Can’t wait to go out there and compete Saturday night, and I think this team is ready.”