The 2023 offseason has been nothing but change for Dak Prescott.
Kellen Moore is now the offensive coordinator of the Los Angeles Chargers after serving as Prescott's teammate, position coach and coordinator since 2016. Doug Nussmeier is also with the Chargers after serving three years as the quarterbacks coach. And on Wednesday, Prescott's running mate, Ezekiel Elliott, was released.
"It's tough to say it's sweet right now honestly. That's just what those guys mean to me. You know what I mean?" Prescott said after an event for the Children's Cancer Fund, which he serves as co-chair with Troy Aikman. "You (make) these relationships and that's what makes you play the way you do, are the relationships you build within the organization and within your team. Whether it's with the coaches or whether it's with teammates. I know the sweet is coming. I know it's coming. Very optimistic guy, don't get me wrong. Change is good as I've always said that but it's tough for me to see in this moment. But I know it's coming and excited when it does."
Prescott and Elliott came in together in 2016. Elliott was the first-round pick, No. 4 overall. Prescott was a fourth-round pick, No. 135 overall. After Tony Romo suffered a back injury in the preseason, Prescott took over as quarterback and he and Elliott led the Cowboys to an NFC-best 13-3 record.
They went to the playoffs four times in their seven years but never got past the divisional round, including last season that ended in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
"It's tough," Prescott said. "(A) brother. Playing the game with a brother. Being able to start this NFL career and share so many memories and grow up as men. Grow up as men with this organization, really can't imagine taking the field without him. It's something I don't know if it's completely hit me yet. Obviously I've talked to him. I'm hurt. I'm sure he is. But more importantly for me just to be able to support him. I know he's got more opportunities coming his way. Love that guy, proud of him, No. 1 supporter and here for him no matter what."
Prescott is one of 10 players remaining on the roster from 2019, the year before Mike McCarthy took over as coach.
"It makes you better controlling those emotions, getting over that, understanding that we all will hang up the cleats one day," Prescott said. "That it all comes to an end. Whether it's at the time we want it to, whether it's at the place or the organization we want it to or not, that's the reality. As you get older and you see that happen more and more with guys you're closer with and friends, this becomes more of a reality of getting old, I guess. It's unfortunate. It sucks. But it's part of it and hate to see all those guys go and us not win. That's what will eat at me forever."
Prescott has already started working out. He had a number of teammates at his backyard field earlier this week, running routes and catching passes. He will have to adjust to a new playcaller in McCarthy, who estimated roughly a 30-35% changeover in the offense.
Prescott turns 30 in July and is signed through 2024. The Cowboys have discussed the possibility of extending his contract but no talks have started as of yet. Having seen close friends and coaches leave the last two years, Prescott knows the Cowboys have to produce.
"The urgency, yeah," Prescott said. "I mean, having all those guys, the departure of so many close friends, good teammates, not winning a championship and the urgency was there but then now, as that's turned over realizing that, hey, you might blink and my career may be over with. It's now or never. It's as simple as that. No sugarcoating on it."
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