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Dallas Cowboys rusher Elliott first rookie to top NFL sales chart

© GETTY/AFP/File | Ezekiel Elliott headed the sales list of all NFL player licensed merchandise from March of 2016 through February 2017

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott became the first rookie to finish atop the NFL Players Association top-50 sales list by claiming the crown for the 2016-17 campaign, the union announced Wednesday.

The 21-year-old rusher who sparked Ohio State to a national title in 2014 before being taken fourth overall by Dallas in last year's NFL Draft, headed the sales list of all NFL player licensed merchandise from March of last year through this past February.

"It's pretty humbling," Elliott said. "When you're a rookie, you're just looking to put your head down, help the team and learn the ropes. To accomplish this level of success off the field shows just how passionate football fans are in Dallas, Ohio, my home state of Missouri and all around the world."

While no figures were revealed for spending on each player, in all NFL fans purchased more than $1.6 billion on jerseys, wall decals, toys, figures video games and other souvenirs involving specific players.

Elliott's rookie teammate, quarterback Dak Prescott, was second on the list with Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady of the New England Patriots third, Dallas receiver Dez Bryant fourth and New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jnr fifth.

"To be up there with Dak and Dez alongside great players like Tom Brady and Odell Beckham is very special to me," Elliott said.

Quarterbacks took four of the next five spots with Seattle's Russell Wilson sixth, Philadelphia rookie Carson Wentz seventh, Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers eighth and Carolina's Cam Newton 10th, edged by New England tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Dallas and Seattle each had a high of five players on the list, but the Cowboys' group was all in the top 15 overall, also including Tony Romo at 15th and tight end Jason Witten at 12th.

© 2017 AFP