FRISCO, Texas – Darren McFadden began the offseason program looking to build on last year's team-leading 1,089-yard rushing performance.
Instead, he'll begin the 2016 season on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list, still not cleared to practice coming off June elbow surgery that sidelined him for all of training camp and preseason.
"Disappointed" is an understatement, according to the veteran running back.
"I don't think disappointed is the word for it," he said. "I was definitely hoping to be back out there for the start, but it's one of those things (where) I've got to sit back and get ready all the way."
McFadden has been working on getting strength and full range of motion back in the elbow.
"The trainers, they know more so than me as far as being able to go out there and protect myself the way I need to be," he said.
On Reserve/NFI, McFadden will be sidelined for the first six weeks of the regular season. Fortunately for the Cowboys, depth at running back isn't an issue. The team kept four running backs on the 53-man roster (first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott, Alfred Morris, Lance Dunbar, sixth-round pick Darius Jackson) and fullback Rod Smith is a converted running back who had seven carries for 42 yards in last Thursday's preseason finale against the Houston Texans.
During these first few weeks of the season, McFadden said he'll continue to prepare as if he was on the active roster and try to help the younger backs on the roster.
"He has done a good job with his rehab and staying in condition as best he can without practicing," head coach Jason Garrett said. "We just felt that timetable was right for him."