OXNARD, Calif. – Whether or not he’s concerned about his star running back holding out the first week of training camp with a contract dispute, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones isn’t showing it.
In fact, he said on Thursday that he remains “patient” through the process, and was rather blunt when asked by a reporter if he was worried if a contract would be completed.
“No, I don’t consider it … when have I ever not done one?” Jones asked back, referring to previous contract disputes over the years. “You just keep plugging along. I don’t want to see a cliché but its what we tell these (players), it’s one foot in front of the other and go. Do what you have to do on the next play and keep going.”
In this case, the next play was for the Cowboys to sign Alfred Morris, a veteran who has spent two years with the club as Zeke’s backup from 2016-17.
But Jones pointed out that signing Morris was more about filling a void, than sending a message.
“You recognize Morris has made some big plays for us in Zeke’s absence. Morris did a good job so you go get Morris,” Jones said. “In no way is it addressed towards directing toward a negotiation stance, that’s not the point. What you should be doing is developing an offense with running back that you can use from the position, you should be doing that and this gives us more reps to do it during this particular time. We have to do this in case Zeke might not be here, period. Without a contract issue and we all know that can happen.”
When asked about a timetable to get this done, Jones disagreed that there is a “no turning back point” or a deadline.
“I don’t see it that way. I don’t see a point months into the season,” Jones said. “I don’t see a point. I’ve done it a lot more than these players have, I don’t want to seem trite or cavalier about it, but I have a little more patience about how things are going to get done and the necessity to have angst when you have it.”
Jones, who earlier in the week, was quoted as saying that NFL teams don’t need a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl, clarified his statements on Thursday.
“My point I was making was you have to put in place more than a running back to win a championship,” Jones said. “That’s almost elementary. Everyone understands that. Certainly they want to be recognized when it comes to the money but on the other hand, it doesn’t (always) work in our house and then our house falls.”
Jones said he is confident that Elliott is working hard in his conditioning. While it has been reported that the running back is training in Cabo, Jones seems sure of one thing when Zeke does return.
“Zeke is in my mind, very conscientious about his preparation to play,” Jones said. “I’m not even giving it a second thought to his conditioning which is part of his ability to step right in. All of that is very easy for my mind to deal with.”