National Football League
Dez Bryant: Bill Belichick blocked Ezekiel Elliott from returning to Cowboys
National Football League

Dez Bryant: Bill Belichick blocked Ezekiel Elliott from returning to Cowboys

Published Jan. 14, 2024 10:16 p.m. ET

Bill Belichick to the Cowboys?

Speculation swirled about the possibility even before the clock hit triple zeroes in the Packers' stunning 48-32 upset over Dallas, which immediately put scrutiny on whether Mike McCarthy will return as Cowboys head coach. If team owner and general manager Jerry Jones does indeed fire McCarthy, longtime Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been speculated as a potential replacement candidate after Belichick's 24-year tenure with New England ended last week.

But former Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant threw some cold water on that speculation Sunday evening, claiming that the Cowboys were interested in bringing back former running Ezekiel Elliott for the playoff run, but Belichick had barred them from doing so.

Elliott signed a one-year contract with Belichick's Patriots last offseason after the Cowboys cut him following years of declining performance. The former Ohio State standout continued that on-field decline in New England during the 2023 season, but he has long been a favorite of Jones and is one of quarterback Dak Prescott's best friends, so a reunion could have made sense if only to return Elliott to the team's locker room during the most important part of the season.


But that reunion would have required Belichick to grant Elliott his release from New England, which finished 4-13 for its worst mark in the legendary head coach's tenure. Even though the Patriots fell out of playoff contention weeks before the end of the season, it appears Belichick was unwilling to cut Elliott loose.

Elliott was still at AT&T Stadium for Sunday's game — sitting in Prescott's personal suite, according to NFL Network.

If Jones does decide to move on from McCarthy in the offseason, it's likely the famed Cowboys owner will choose his next head coach with Prescott in mind, especially after the quarterback just completed arguably the best season of his career and is under contract for several years. That could hurt Belichick's candidacy, not only because of Belichick blocking Elliott rejoining Prescott but because Belichick has never been a quarterback-oriented coach even when future Hall of Famer Tom Brady played for him in New England.

[Want great stories delivered right to your inbox? Create or log in to your FOX Sports account, follow leagues, teams and players to receive a personalized newsletter daily.]


Get more from National Football League Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more