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Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott Not Expected to Play in Preseason Games Ahead of 2022 Season

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVAugust 3, 2022

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

As the Dallas Cowboys attempt to keep Ezekiel Elliott healthy during the 2022 season, he is not expected to suit up during any of the team's three preseason games.

"I've been playing football 20 years," Elliott said, per Jon Machota of The Athletic. "This is my seventh year (in the NFL). I've seen a lot of football. I don't think I need a preseason game, especially with the joint practices (with the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers)."

Dallas starts its preseason on Aug. 13 against the Broncos and will also face the Chargers and Seattle Seahawks ahead of their opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Elliott's health will be under the spotlight this season after he revealed he played the 2021 campaign with a partially torn PCL that did not require offseason surgery. That may have played a role in him looking a step slower than he did in the past.

The Ohio State product averaged a career-low 58.9 rushing yards per game on 4.2 yards per carry. It was a far cry from when he led the league in rushing yards per game in each of his first three seasons as a dynamic playmaker.

Elliott has three Pro Bowls, a First Team All-Pro selection and two seasons leading the NFL in rushing yards on his resume. Even last year when he was playing at less than 100 percent, he managed to surpass 1,000 yards on the ground (1,002) and reach double-digit touchdowns (10 rushing and two receiving).

Having him healthy and running well should take some of the pressure off a Cowboys aerial attack that no longer has Amari Cooper and may be without Michael Gallup for some time as he recovers from a torn ACL.

It could also help Elliott hold off Tony Pollard in the battle for more rushing attempts considering the latter was more explosive at times in 2021 with 5.5 yards per carry.

Elliott's absence during the preseason will give Pollard more opportunities, but the incumbent starter will surely be the featured back once the regular season begins.

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