OXNARD, Calif. (KWTX) Rookie running back Tony Pollard had a chance at a head start with the Dallas Cowboys Saturday in the team's first training camp practice while Ezekiel Elliott attempts to re-negotiate his current contract.
Elliott, who signed a four-year contract worth nearly $25 million after being drafted fourth overall by the Cowboys in 2016, is due nearly $3.9 million in the final year of his contract.
The Cowboys also hold a fifth-year team option that would pay Elliott more than $9 million in 2020. He is hoping for a significant pay increase after rushing for 1,434 yards and six touchdowns last season, as well as setting career-highs in receiving yards (567) and receiving touchdowns (3).
“Well, he’s late,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said via the team's official website. “He’s a non-report. The (rest of the team) has reported. So, he’s late. But this is what we do. We’re not surprised. This is business as usual.”
Until Elliott reports, it'll mean more reps for players like rookies Pollard and Mike Weber, as well as fourth-year back Darius Jackson.
Pollard, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft, took reps as the first-team running back in the Cowboys' first practice.
"I had no idea (Zeke would hold out)," Pollard said. You can never guess something like that. Coming into this camp, no matter what, I was ready to prove myself, as you have to do in this league day in and day out. I'm ready for anything."
"That's one of the things that's exciting for us coaches when you have young players who have a little bit of ability but also go about it the right way," Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. "You see them progress quickly, early and each of those guys has played a lot of football at the college level. There is a transition for every rookie, but they've certainly made progress."
Pollard, who was a kick return specialist at Memphis, finished third on the Tigers in rushing yards (552) and rushing touchdowns (6) but was the best pass-catching option out of the backfield. He was second on the team with 458 receiving yards.
"We're good, just taking advantage of our opportunities as a group," Pollard said. "Zeke has business to handle, so we're just focusing on who's here and what we're doing now."
The first preseason game for the Cowboys is scheduled for Sat., August 10, against the 49ers in San Francisco.