Cowboys' Elliott unfazed by critics: They're not 'signing the checks'

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Ezekiel Elliott's performances so far this season aren't what the Dallas Cowboys expected when they signed the running back to a monster contract extension two years ago.

He's been heavily criticized for his early struggles, but the former All-Pro runner doesn't seem concerned about that feedback.

"You hear it, but what really matters is what's going on in this building," Elliott said Thursday, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News. "They're not the one signing the checks. They're not the ones sending the wires. So I mean," he continued with a laugh, "I don't think it matters."

Elliott, 26, entered this year under pressure after he averaged fewer than 70 rushing yards per game for the first time in his career in 2020. He hasn't been able to prove his doubters wrong thus far in 2021, racking up just 104 yards (3.9 per carry) and one touchdown through the first two weeks.

The three-time Pro Bowler took the NFL by storm after being drafted fourth overall in 2016, topping the league in rushing yards per game in each of his first three campaigns. In 2019, he inked a six-year, $90-million extension that currently puts him second in average annual salary among runners, trailing only Christian McCaffrey of the Carolina Panthers.

Elliott scored his first touchdown of the season last week versus the Los Angeles Chargers and he leads Dallas with 27 rushing attempts. However, he's been outrushed by third-year runner Tony Pollard, who's amassed a team-high 123 yards on the ground.

"I see the work he puts in," Elliott said of Pollard, according to Jon Machota of The Athletic. "He's one of the hardest workers on the team, and he's very talented. He deserves to go out there and play well."

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Cowboys' Elliott unfazed by critics: They're not 'signing the checks'
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