Cowboys' Jerry Jones on Ezekiel Elliott's contract: 'We've got a marathon here'

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doesn’t seem too concerned about the possibility of Ezekiel Elliott missing the start of the regular season as the star running back continues his holdout for a new contract.

Jones said Wednesday on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas that they don’t have a deadline, but the focus right now is to get Elliott back in time for the postseason. 

“We’ve got a marathon here,” Jones said. “We want Zeke when we get to the playoffs. We want Zeke when we’re in the dog days of this season.”

Jones hinted the Cowboys are prepared to play without Elliott to start the season.

“We may very well play without a player that’s not coming in on his contract. We’ll play and we’ll play well,” Jones said.

Jones was pressed about why the two sides can’t reach an agreement. When asked whether Elliott’s off-field issues in the past have had an effect on the negotiations, Jones insisted: “I’m very comfortable off the field with Zeke. He certainly has had two or three issues, that’s not a factor here.”

Instead, Jones believes the negotiations have gone slower because Elliott is away from the team. 

Elliott has been training in Cabo with Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk. There was a sense of hope when Elliott returned to Dallas earlier this month, but that apparently was only a break from his workouts as Elliott went back to train in Mexico.

“That’s always been the issue with me and my approach to managing the Cowboys,” Jones said. “When you cut out people in between the money and the player, we all know that agents, attorneys all have their agenda. By the way, they are all taking money out of the pie too when they’re there. The straighter it goes from the source to the one receiving it, nine times out of 10 that’s more efficient.”

The Cowboys are scheduled to open the regular season Sept. 8 against the Giants, though there’s uncertainty as to whether Elliott will continue to sit out until he reaches a new extension. 

Elliott has one year left on his rookie contract as well as a fifth-year team option.