Ezekiel Elliott found Jerry Jones’ “Zeke who?” joke “disrespectful.” But the Cowboys owner said Saturday night he does not feel the need to clear the air with his star running back, who continues his holdout.
“No. None. No. Not at all,” Jones said. “We know each other. We have been in the battles with each other kind of like Michael [Irvin] trying to roll back and clear something out with me. What makes this awkward is because we are in negotiations, and so you don’t tell everything because you know you are negotiating.
“Anything I say is a negotiation.”
Jones said earlier in the week that he has “earned the right to joke about Zeke.” Jones supported Elliott during Elliott’s battle with the NFL in 2017, including paying a $2 million de facto fine to the league.
The Cowboys haven’t seen Elliott since they ended their minicamp in June. He has worked out on his own since.
It is unclear if the star running back will report to the team if a deal doesn’t get done by Sept. 8. Both sides are just hoping to have a deal done by then.
“Yes, I’m optimistic that we can get Zeke’s deal done,” Jones said before adding, “I don’t know that. I don’t know that. But sure, I don’t mean to be trite, but the whole premise is based on getting everybody under contract playing, so that’s what we’re trying to do here. Zeke’s under contract.”
Jones sounds as if he believes Elliott will return in shape. The question is: When will Elliott return?
“I don’t want to sound like it’s not important for him to be here. I think it is important for him to be here or we wouldn’t be having everybody be here, everybody getting some work in,” Jones said. “Everything about this is important. Everybody does understand it. It’s just a question of seeing if it works.
“But you know, we’re going to play football one way or the other. That’s the way it works.”