Murray knew Elliott only from afar, having seen him play at Ohio State, but the former Cowboys running back wanted to pass on some advice to the current Cowboys running back: Do what Jason Witten does.
Here’s what ESPN Insider Ed Werder took from a conversation with Murray:
Murray: "Everything and everywhere he goes be there by his side watching and listening. He will show him the way on and off the field."— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) May 6, 2016
This was specific advice DeMarco Murray offered Zeke Elliott: "From day one, make sure he stays with 82....— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) May 6, 2016
Murray’s words meant something to Witten. They were teammates for four years but grew especially close in the offseason of 2014. They became workout partners. Murray saw his production soar, leading the NFL with 1,845 yards rushing. He was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year.
Witten made it to his 10th Pro Bowl. It was among the more satisfying years of his career even though he caught only 64 passes.
“People talk about how precious the relationships of teammates are and the brotherhood and bond,” Witten said. “I appreciate DeMarco’s kind words not because he said it but the relationship we have. We had a short few years together and we maximized it. A lot of great shared sacrifices together. Ultimately he was able to have an offensive MVP year and I was just a small part of it. But for him to think I could influence it, I think that’s why you invest the way you do. That’s what teammates do.”
Witten saw a benefit to the workouts together, too.
“He wanted to kind of be shown the way, but he also pushed me along the way,” Witten said. “He wasn’t afraid to work. He wasn’t afraid to come along. When people talk about shared commitment, that’s what it means.”
Witten has been around Elliott for a little more than a week.
“With Zeke, we’ve had a good couple of conversations,” Witten said. “I think we’ll see how this relationship goes. Obviously there’s high expectations, but I’ve been impressed.”