ARLINGTON, Texas – Quite a week for Zeke.
Tuesday night, Elliott returned from Cabo San Lucas hopeful that progressive contract negotiations with the Cowboys would mark the end of his six-week holdout.
By 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, he had rejoined the team for meetings, and practice and his signature on a record $90 million extension.
Sunday, No. 21 was back in his most comfortable setting: starting at running back inside AT&T Stadium.
Having missed all of training camp and preseason, the 2018 NFL rushing champ didn’t have his usual workload. He played roughly 35 snaps in the Cowboys’ 35-17 win over the New York Giants, according to head coach Jason Garrett, and rushed 13 times for 53 yards.
“I feel about the same. Obviously, I was a little rusty,” Elliott said afterward. “I didn’t play the best game and I’ve got a lot of things I can improve on. But that’s just going to come with time and getting more reps and being out there longer.”
Garrett said the coaching staff wanted to be “mindful” of how many reps they gave Elliott on Sunday. His three practices this past week were his first and only on-field team work since minicamp in mid-June.
“It looked like he ran the way Zeke runs,” Garrett said. “I know over time when he practices a little bit more and gets a little more game experience, he’ll get more comfortable. But he’s a really good football player and it’s good to have him back.”
Elliott did reach the end zone once – a 10-yard touchdown through a gaping hole on the left side that gave the Cowboys a commanding 35-10 lead late in the third quarter.
Rookie Tony Pollard took over at running back in the fourth, allowing Elliott to rest and look toward a more normal schedule this week.
“I think I’m in football shape, but they just wanted to be a little precautionary there and not push it too much and just be safe,” he said. It’s a long season. We’ve got a lot of football to play.
“I’m a little sore,” he added, “but I’m looking forward to next week, getting a bigger load.”