Ezekiel Elliott sounds like he couldn't wait to leave the Patriots

New England Patriots v Denver Broncos
New England Patriots v Denver Broncos / Justin Edmonds/GettyImages

After the departure of Damien Harris last offseason, the Patriots needed another solid running back to pair with Rhamondre Stevenson in the backfield.

They didn't address the position really in free agency but were in the running for two of the top unexpected free agents who decided to finally sign with new teams in the summer: Dalvin Cook and Ezekiel Elliott.

The two accomplished players had been released from the teams they were drafted by, mainly for cap space reasons, and became the hottest free agents to hit the market. Several teams inquired about signing them, especially in the AFC East, and the Patriots were lucky enough to convince Elliott to sign a one-year deal.

Although New England's offense was an utter mess in 2023, Elliott was one of their better players on the field despite being labeled long past his prime. As expected, he took a backseat to Stevenson, but held his own and became a solid weapon for Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. And when Stevenson went down with a season-ending injury after playing in 12 games, Elliott more than held down the fort in his absence.

By season's end, he recorded 184 carries for 642 yards and three touchdowns, plus 51 receptions for 313 yards and two more scores. Elliott certainly could have contributed more since he was so much more sparingly used than he was used to, but he filled the role exactly how the Patriots needed him to.

Once he became a free agent, he wasn't expected to be re-signed due to likely wanting a more prominent role in an offense elsewhere. But he consistently spoke highly of his one year spent in Foxboro. However, based on his latest comments upon re-signing with his former team, the Cowboys, it seems like he was happy to be out of New England.

Ezekiel Elliott sounds like he couldn't wait to leave the Patriots

The initial breakup between Elliott and the Cowboys wasn't exactly amicable. The running back didn't want to leave the team necessarily, but cap space concerns and the rise of Tony Pollard pushed him to the side, hence the Patriots having the opportunity to sign him.

Now that the Cowboys needed an improved backfield after Pollard's departure, Elliott gladly returned and seemed very happy to be there.

"It feels great to be home. I definitely missed being here. I missed this building. I missed Cowboys' nation. I'm definitely excited and ready to get this thing going."

Although it's fair for him to be excited about going back to the team he spent all but one year of his career with, his gleefulness about missing everything, including the fans, may offer insight into how he truly felt about his time in New England.

Maybe it's looking for something that isn't there, and we should just trust his previous statements about liking his time with the Patriots. However, his excitement does not seem to be just from returning to Dallas.

It's a shame if Elliott didn't enjoy his time with the Patriots because the fans certainly enjoyed his one season there. He appeared to fit right in with the team and performed well, and that's all anyone could ask for.

Perhaps he didn't feel the same, but at least we got one fun season from him and now it's back to being the Stevenson show in New England.

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