DALLAS — When you step on the field with Josh Hicks, talk is cheap.
Even if you're worth $90 million.
"Definitely high intense," said Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott. "He's definitely going to require your best."
Hicks is one of the premier football trainers in the country, working with some of the NFL's best players, like Melvin Gordon and Leonard Fournette.
"Super Bowl Lenny came through first," said Hicks, referring to Fournette.
And now, Hicks is training Elliott.
"He demands excellence out of all his guys," Elliott said. "No matter if you're a pro guy, college guy or high school kid."
The Cowboys back started training with Hicks in Dallas six months ago, looking to elevate his game and avoid a repeat of 2020, his worst season as a pro.
Elliott last year set career lows for rushing yards (979), yards per attempt (4.0) and yards per game (65.3), and he matched his career low for rushing touchdowns (6).
Has the work with Hicks paid off so far?
"I think I'm definitely in a good spot right now," Elliott said.
Elliott is eating clean this offseason, we're told, and his work with Hicks has added a new dimension to his game.
Hicks, a shorter speed back when he played at Purdue, has Elliott on a footwork regimen to add more shiftiness to his running style. It's been a welcome development for Elliott, who is more of a power back with his strength between the tackles.
"One of the things I really love about working with 'J' is his running style is a lot different than mine," Elliott said. "I take a lot of big steps. I got a long stride. He's a different body type. He has a different running technique. He's more shifty, more elusive. In and out, very quick. In a phone booth. And that's something I want to add to my game, and I definitely think he's helped me develop some of those skills this offseason, and I've gotten better."
Here's a look at a few of the agility drills Elliott is going through this summer:
Ellliott knows the talk is cheap. That's why he's hungry to let his play do the talking.
"I don't care who you are," Hicks said, "what your name is or what's behind it. When you come train with me, my name is behind you now."