Rested Ezekiel Elliott ready for the playoffs
3:03 PM CT
ESPN Staff Writer
FRISCO, Texas -- Understand, Ezekiel Elliott wanted to play Sunday against Philadelphia.
And the rookie running back wanted more than 12 carries against Detroit the previous week.
But after an intense practice Thursday at The Star, the club's state-of-the-art training facility, Elliott understood why the Dallas Cowboys gave him a breather after leading the league with 1,631 yards this season.
Ezekiel Elliott said he understands the opportunity the Cowboys have in front of them as the No. 1 seed. Benny Sieu/USA TODAY Sports
"I got fresh legs, fresh body,” Elliott said. “I feel like I haven't played a down of football this season. I’m excited."
How dangerous is that for the Cowboys' playoff opponent?
"You tell me," Elliott said, laughing.
Coach Jason Garrett and offensive coordinator Scott Linehan tried not to overwork Elliott this season, even though he had 23 more carries than any other NFL running back.
Twice, he carried the ball more than 25 times. None occurred in the last eight games of the regular season.
No guarantees exist about how many carries Elliott will receive in the playoffs.
“Zeke has done an outstanding job with every opportunity we’ve given him right from the start,” Garrett said. “He prepares the right way. He practices the right way.
“Whatever we ask him to do in a game, he does everything he can [to] do it as well as he can, whether it’s running it, catching it or blocking.
“He’s got a great competitive spirit. He loves to play, and he loves this football team.”
Elliott needed 178 yards to break former Los Angeles Rams star Eric Dickerson’s 1983 rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards.
Had Elliott received his usual carries against Detroit and Philadelphia, he might have broken the record. As you would expect, the Hall of Fame running back let Elliott know about it.
He said his usual, “Many have tried, all have failed,” Elliott said.
Elliott said he wanted to break Dickerson’s record, but a bigger goal took precedence.
"We're having a great season. It would have been nice to get, but that's really not what I'm focused on this season,” Elliott said. “We have a very special team.
"We're in a unique opportunity that doesn't happen a lot in this league. There's a lot of guys who this is their first playoff. We got a first-round bye. We're the No. 1 seed. We have a special team. We have a special bond. We have an opportunity to do something special.
"Winning the Super Bowl would be way more special than the rookie rushing record."
And a Super Bowl ring is something Dickerson doesn’t own.