Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the team is proceeding with “business as usual,” despite the holdout of All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Elliott officially became a holdout Friday when he did not report for the opening of Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, California.
“I don’t want to seem cavalier. Zeke is an outstanding player,” Jones told reporters at the Cowboys media conference Friday. “But I also don’t want to be alarmed about it. … I just want to put it in perspective. … This is business as usual.”
“We expect all of our players to be here,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “Obviously, Zeke is not here. … Our focus as a staff and an organization is the guys who are here.”
The 24-year-old running back, who has two years remaining on his rookie contract, did not announce he planned to hold out, but is reportedly seeking a contract extension that would exceed Rams running back Todd Gurley’s four-year, $57.5 million deal.
The Cowboys have expressed an interest in working out an extension with Elliott, but are not in a hurry given the time remaining on his rookie deal especially considering they are also pursuing lucrative new contracts with quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper.
In the meantime, Cowboys executive vice president and CEO Stephen Jones served notice Friday he’s not in a mood to constantly answer Elliott contract questions.
“It’s going to do no good to address this situation every day,” Jones said, “but we will be working on (a contract) behind the scenes.”
“We are focused on the guys who are here … we’re not going to focus on the business of football,” Garrett said.
A workhorse in the Cowboys’ offense, Elliott earned his second rushing title in three years with 1,434 yards on a league-high 304 carries with six touchdowns last season. He added 77 receptions for 567 yards with three TDs.
In terms of Prescott’s contract negotiations, Stephen Jones said it would be “irresponsible” for him to put a timetable on any new potential deal.