If Ezekiel Elliott misses a few games at the start of the 2019 regular season, Dallas Cowboys owner/president Jerry Jones apparently isn't worried. During an interview with 105.3 The Fan on Wednesday morning, Jones said that he is more focused about having Elliott for the long haul.
"We've got a marathon here," Jones said. "We want Zeke when we get to the playoffs. We want Zeke when we're in the dog days of this season. ... A fresh Zeke, if we got to the end, would be great."
Elliott's expected timetable to return to the team is not currently known. However, he is not short on supporters -- both past and present players -- they are steadfast in their belief he should be paid. Recently, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley called Elliott the
Jones has won a Super Bowl without having his star running back on the field at the start of the season. In 1993, reigning league rushing champion Emmitt Smith sat out the first two weeks of the regular season over a contract dispute. Dallas struggled in his absence, going 0-2 that included an embarrassing home loss to the Buffalo Bills, the team the Cowboys blew out months earlier in Super Bowl XXVII. Jones and Smith came to terms on a contract agreement later that week. Smith returned to help Dallas win 15 of their final 17 games that included a second consecutive Super Bowl victory over the Bills.
But the 2019 Cowboys, albeit talented, aren't the '93 Cowboys. And this isn't the early '90s when the disparity between the great and average teams was much wider than it is today. Jones' Cowboys were barely able to withstand the absence of Smith back then. It would be an even taller task to ask this Cowboys team to stay in playoff contention without Elliott, the NFL's leading rusher since the start of the 2016 season.
Jones, however, appears confident that his team will enough to stay above water until Elliott returns to the team. Dallas opens the season with consecutive games against divisional foes (at home against the New York Giants before heading to D.C. to take on the Redskins) before hosting the Dolphins in Week 3. The Cowboys close out the first quarter of their schedule with a road game against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
"We may very well play without a player that's not coming in on his contract," Jones said.