Ezekiel Elliott Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

During his first stint with the Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott was a star for the team, leading the NFL in rushing twice and earning Pro Bowl honors three times. Now, he’s reuniting with the team, and it’s clear that he has a special place in the history of the franchise.

On Monday morning the Dallas Cowboys officially brought back Ezekiel Elliott after he spent one season away from the team, playing for the New England Patriots. And as the team announced his signing, it was clear just how much he meant to the Cowboys franchise.

“Zeke is, as we all know, is one of our favorites,” executive vice president and director of player personnel Stephen Jones said according to the Dallas Cowboys team website. “He’s laid it on the line for this franchise. He’s the ultimate competitor and we obviously think a lot of him.”

Obviously, as he reaches the tail end of his career, Elliott is not quite the player that he was during his first few years with the Cowboys. Last season was statistically the worst of his career and he was one of the least efficient running backs in the league. But it’s clear that the Cowboys still value him and think that he can help them this season.

[Dallas Cowboys]