"I've earned the right to joke with Zeke," Jones said when informed his "Zeke who?" quip was met with backlash, per Jon Machota of The Athletic. "Let me be real clear about that. I've earned the right to joke with Zeke."
Chris Mortensen of ESPN noted neither Elliott nor agent Rocky Arceneaux found Jones' previous comment amusing.
"I didn't think it was funny and neither did Zeke—we actually thought it was disrespectful," Arceneaux said.
Jones’ "Zeke who?" comment came after rookie Tony Pollard tallied 42 yards and a touchdown on five carries during a 14-10 preseason win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram confirmed Elliott was unhappy with the joke and returned to Cabo San Lucas, where he trained earlier during his holdout. Hill also cited a source who suggested "things could get interesting in the next few days" with this as the backdrop.
Elliott has made two Pro Bowls, helped lead the Cowboys to two NFC East titles and led the league in rushing yards twice during his three seasons in the league. The only time he didn’t lead the NFL in rushing yards was in 2017 when he was suspended for six games.
As the league shifts further into a mentality that running backs are largely replaceable players, he may be on the short list of those who are irreplaceable.
The two sides could still get a deal done before the Sept. 8 opener against the New York Giants.