Why Cowboys Legends Want Ezekiel Elliott to Stop Hurdling Defenders

Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett have words of advice for the talented rookie All-Pro.

Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott tore up the NFL in his rookie season. The former Ohio State star led the league in rushing with 1,631 yards and an average of 108.7 yards per game.

But despite these accomplishments, two Cowboys running back legends weren't happy with Elliott's penchant for hurdling defenders.

RELATED: Ezekiel Elliott Hurdled Over a Chicago Bears Defender, and It Was Beautiful

The combination of Zeke's power, speed and elusiveness makes him difficult for would-be tacklers to bring down. So when he's in the open field, defenders try to go low and take out his legs. But the 6-foot, 225-pound back showed off his leaping ability many times during the season by hurdling opposing players.

Watching Zeke jump over defenders trying to destroy him is fun for fans to watch, but it's probably isn't the smartest move. Leaving the ground as a ball carrier leaves a runner defenseless in the air.

All-time great Cowboys running backs Tony Dorsett and Emmitt Smith love what Zeke did his rookie year, but the want him to discontinue the hurdling.

"He better stop that. He better stop that. He better stop that," Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "That's one thing that I don't like. When you get airborne, you're at the mercy of the hit, and sometimes you can't protect yourself. I think as he gets older he may take that out of his repertoire. He needs to stop that. That scares me every time he gets airborne. I'm like oh…."

"Get on the ground as quickly as possible," NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith said. "Every time I watch somebody run, I'm looking very closely, very tentatively, seeing how they fall, because a lot of things happen when you fall."

Though both Hall of Fame running backs are right, Elliott is no ordinary running back. Zeke was a state champion in track & field (including the 110 hurdles) at John Burroughs High School in Missouri. In the video below, you can see him win the 2013 Missouri State Finals in the 110-meter hurdles.


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: FOOTBALL | RUNNING BACK | NEWS | DALLAS COWBOYS | NFL | EZEKIEL ELLIOTT