DALLAS - Ezekiel Elliott is a talented running back and budding NFL star. In his rookie year, he won the league rushing title and nearly broke the Cowboys single season rushing record. The Cowboys gambled on him as a top five draft pick and it paid off.
He's also a young man with some growing up to do off the field as he faces a possible suspension stemming from a domestic violence investigation, and was involved in an altercation at a Dallas night club earlier this month.
The first paragraph is music to Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones' ears – the second – not so much.
Dallas has a long history of players that, well, weren't the best role models off the field. Some, like Michael Irvin, Leon Lett and Charles Haley worked out, and grew up to become better men while winning a few Super Bowls despite their issues. Others, like Adam 'Pacman' Jones, Greg Hardy, and most recently Randy Gregory, have been utter disasters.
Granted, Elliott has yet to be suspended and was not charged or arrested for the nightclub altercation. If nothing comes of either of these events, Elliott should use it as a wake-up call, especially given the trajectory he was on after a stellar rookie campaign.
Because when he's on the field, Elliott is arguably the best running back in the league. So let's take a break from the off-field drama and look back at some of Zeke's best moments from last season. If you're a fan of spectacular hurdles and jaw-dropping spin moves, sit tight – Elliott put all that and more on display in these top five plays from 2016.
No. 5: 14-yard hurdles
The Chicago Bears were the first team last year that didn't get the memo – do not tackle Zeke low.
Elliott turned this routine off-tackle run into a #SCTop10 in a matter of seconds, hurdling and forever immortalizing Bears defensive back Chris Prosinski (and not in a good way.)
No. 4: Touchdown Salvation Army
Instead of standing outside local department stores with the red kettle and iconic bell, Elliott decided to contribute to the Salvation Army in a different way.
After muscling into the end zone from a yard out, Zeke darted for the giant red kettle and hopped inside, celebrating his touchdown.
The result? A $250,000 spike in donations. Merry Christmas, indeed.
No. 3: Shifting and scoring
It may not be the most glamorous play ever, but this short touchdown run perfectly highlights Zeke's incredible awareness.
With the middle of the field bottled up, Elliott bounced to the outside and sprinted for the pylon. Knowing a Cleveland safety was closing in and would tackle him before he reached the goal line, Zeke shifted the ball to his left hand and extended it for a touchdown.
Agility mixed with that kind of precision is such a lethal combination.
No. 2: 2nd and 18? No problem.
Trailing the Pittsburgh Steelers and backed up near their own end zone facing 2nd and 18, Dallas drew up a screen for Elliott – and he did the rest. With a wall of blockers downfield, Elliott raced up the sideline and into the end zone for an 83-yard touchdown.
Elliott finished the game with a measley 209 all-purpose yards and three total touchdowns.
Really glad I wasn't playing against him in fantasy football that week.
No. 1: B-button spin
Admittedly when this play happened in real-time I gawked at my TV for a solid minute.
As Clay Matthews, one of the best linebackers in the league, came rumbling into the backfield, Zeke tapped the B button and hit him with a spin move straight out of a Madden video game. Instead of a handful of Elliott, Matthews was left with a handful of air as Zeke scampered ahead for a positive gain on the play.
A few minutes later, Dallas scored and erased a double-digit second half deficit to tie the game against Green Bay.
Did I mention Zeke did this in a playoff game?
What plays did we miss? Share your favorite Zeke moments with Reece on Twitter @ReeceWaddell15.
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