Cowboys say Ronnie Hillman signing not related to Ezekiel Elliott status

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Yes, the Cowboys are anticipating hearing word on Ezekiel Elliott’s possible suspension soon. And yes, they signed running back Ronnie Hillman.

But Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said those two facts weren’t necessarily related.

Via Todd Archer of ESPN.com, Garrett said it had more to do with a hamstring injury to Jahad Thomas than anything else.

“It really has everything to do with Jahad [Thomas’] situation,” Garrett said. “Jahad, we thought he was going to be healthy and ready to go for training camp, and he was one day into it [and unable to stay healthy], and so we had to get another running back in here.”

With veteran Darren McFadden getting some time off and Thomas not able to practice, the Cowboys were forced to use Rod Smith and Alfred Morris more than planned. The Cowboys worked Hillman and former Jaguars fifth-rounder Denard Robinson last week.

Hillman was good in 2015 (rushing for 863 yards and seven touchdowns), but couldn’t find a home last year. The Cowboys think he could fit some of the niche created when Lance Dunbar left in free agency.

“I remember watching him in playoff games and playing with the Denver offense that was so prolific,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said of Hillman. “He’s still young. He’s going to bring some really good experience in this league. He’s a different style back, size and style. So he’s going to be able to add a dimension for us and we’ll see. We’re going to let him absorb our offense a little bit before we get him right in the fire, but we’re excited what he brings to us.”

But for the record, he’s not here because they’re afraid Elliott’s about to be suspended. Of course.