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Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott adopting vocal leadership role

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The Dallas Cowboys have a void to fill with the departures of tight end Jason Witten and wide receiver Dez Bryant.

Outside of production, the established veteran duo provided leadership on and off the field.

But the Cowboys have a plan in place for running back Ezekiel Elliott, one of the team's top offensive stars, to step up and lead.

"[Elliott's] been much more vocal," Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. "It's good for him. He's in his third year. Coming out here being a more vocal leader, not just a leader by what he does on the football field, I think that's really good for him and really good for our football team."

The Cowboys elected to not bring back veteran Alfred Morris, and Elliott, who turns 23 on July 22, finds himself leading a young running back corps, which includes fourth-year pro Rod Smith, Trey Williams and a pair of rookies in Bo Scarbrough and Jordan Chunn.

He might be young, but Elliott embraces the opportunity to spearhead the group.

"It's definitely something I've been thinking about," Elliott said, via the Dallas Morning News. "It seems like I was just a rookie not too long ago. I'm just trying to do my best to bring these rookies along and show them the way."

Meanwhile, the running back should also have plenty of opportunities to lead by example with deeds on the football field.

With Witten and Bryant absent from the offense, the Cowboys are likely to lean on an energized Elliott, who produced 983 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in 2017 despite serving a six-game suspension.

"With what happened last year with the whole suspension and everything, I think he felt as though he didn't accomplish anything," Brown said, via the Dallas Morning news. "But he did accomplish some things. Hopefully, he doesn't put too much pressure on himself. If he doesn't, I think we'll have a great Zeke."

Should Elliott fully absorb his role as a leader on and off the field, he would be more than primed to return to his rookie season form where he exploded for 1,994 total yards (1,631 rushing) and 16 touchdowns en route to a first-team All-Pro selection.

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