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Ezekiel Elliott Wins Cowboys' 2018 Offensive MVP Award Amid Contract Holdout

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 28, 2019

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott smiles as he walks off the field after participating in drills at the team's NFL football training facility in Frisco, Texas, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Ezekiel Elliott's status for the 2019 season remains up in the air due to a contract holdout, but the Dallas Cowboys did honor their star running back for his performance last year.

Per Pro Football Talk's Charean Williams, Elliott was named the Cowboys' offensive MVP for the 2018 season during Wednesday's kickoff luncheon at AT&T Stadium. 

As Elliott remains away from the Cowboys while trying to secure a long-term contract, team owner Jerry Jones doesn't sound concerned about two-time Pro Bowler potentially missing games early in the season. 

"We've got a marathon here," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan's Shan & RJ. "We want Zeke when we get to the playoffs. We want Zeke when we're in the dog days of this season. ... A fresh Zeke, if we got to the end, would be great."

Elliott has been an integral part of Dallas' success since being drafted No. 4 overall in 2016. He led the NFL in carries (304), touches (381), rushing yards (1,434) and rushing yards per game (95.6) last season. 

The Cowboys' 2018 campaign turned around when Elliott and the rushing attack became more of a focal point. When they got off to a 3-5 start, he averaged 18.6 carries per game. Dallas went 6-1 over the next seven games when his average attempts increased to 22.1 per contest. 

Elliott also led the team with 77 receptions and finished third with 567 receiving yards. 

Dallas will begin defense of its NFC East title at home against the New York Giants on Sept. 8.