The Dallas Cowboys are rumored to be losing Ezekiel Elliott for the start of the 2017 NFL season, and the team could be sent looking for help in the backfield during his absence.
On Friday, reports circulated that the Cowboys are bracing for the running back to face a “short suspension” stemming from his 2016 domestic violence allegation, which was later dropped. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the NFL is nearing the end of its investigation into Elliott’s situation and is likely to suspend him for the start of the season, which could mean one or two games.
The allegation against Ezekiel Elliott came from an incident last year in Columbus, Ohio, when a woman identified as Elliott’s girlfriend at the time claimed that the running back assaulted her while they sat in a car together, Bleacher Report noted.
There were differing accounts of the incident, with four witnesses saying they didn’t see an assault take place. Police investigated the matter without ever charging Elliott.
With Ezekiel Elliott facing a likely suspension, there are rumors that the Dallas Cowboys could be seeking a bit of help for the backfield to start the season. The Cowboys have veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris behind Elliott on the roster, but they are expected to bring in more help — for competition and depth in training camp if nothing else.
There are a few possibilities in free agency, including Rashad Jennings who rushed for 593 yards last season, and the Cowboys could also look to undrafted free agents to fill the role. Whatever help the Dallas Cowboys do get would likely not be a major player — McFadden and Morris would likely shoulder the brunt of the carries, so another running back would help give depth or in third-down situations, making up for some of Elliott’s prowess in the passing game.
— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) July 14, 2017
As Pro Football Rumors noted, the Cowboys could likely use help to start their season. The team opens with the NFC East rival New York Giants before facing the Denver Broncos in Week 2.
Ezekiel Elliott led the league in rushing yards last year, but can he reach 2,000 in 2017?
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) July 12, 2017
Even if the rumors do pan out, the Dallas Cowboys will have a nearly impossible time trying to make up for what they lose with Ezekiel Elliott off the field. In his rookie season, the running back led the league with 1,631 yards on 322 carries last year, scoring 15 touchdowns. He made the NFL All-Pro first team for his efforts.
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