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Training Camp | 2023

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McCarthy downplays potential Zeke return


OXNARD, Calif. — Do you see that way out off the shore? It's a big blue ship with the No. 21 on the side of it that just hasn't quite sailed away yet in the form of Ezekiel Elliott.

This morning on 105.3 The Fan, owner Jerry Jones was asked about the possibility of bringing Elliott back after the two-game suspension of Ronald Jones on Monday from the NFL, and Jones was hesitant to rule out the three-time Pro Bowler returning to Dallas.

"We're reading the tea leaves," Jones said. "He hasn't been ruled out at all."

Elliott, who is fresh off of a visit to New England this past weekend, has not yet signed with a team after being released by the Cowboys in March after seven seasons.

When talking to head coach Mike McCarthy, those hopes are a bit more tempered as he wants to see the current running back group get as many opportunities to prove its value as it can during training camp.

"When you make a commitment to young players, it's the big picture of the overall roster and the development and how the room is gonna look," McCarthy said. "This is about the bigger picture and it goes well beyond the running back room. This is the roster that we've put together and my job is to make sure I develop it at all times."

Even with the suspension to Jones, McCarthy has been encouraged with how the running back room has performed in training camp behind Tony Pollard. In addition to giving reason on Tuesday to believe Jones will be around the team, McCarthy also expressed confidence in Rico Dowdle and Malik Davis on Monday.

"Obviously [Jones is] still with us," he said. "It's a young room. We knew that going in. The development of all of those guys so far has been impressive. I thought the running back group as a whole had a solid day yesterday."

"Particularly a lot of the new things we're asking these guys to do. Our protection outlook is different than it was the past three years. There is more on those guys plates. We'll just continue to develop the room."

Tony Pollard has also taken a step forward in helping to lead the running back room off the field as McCarthy has seen him take the responsibility head on.

"Just like anything in this game, it's part of your roster and locker room responsibility," he said about Pollard. "His leadership responsibility has increased and the most important part of it he's doing it within his personality. I think Tony's done an outstanding job. I think he's done a great job of being the leader, the veteran in the room."

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