FRISCO, Texas — Shortly after noon CT Monday, Ezekiel Elliott appeared at The Star, with his six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy concluded.
Elliott met with coach Jason Garrett for 10 or 15 minutes as well as with running backs coach Gary Brown. After Sunday’s win over the Oakland Raiders, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he would meet with the running back on Monday.
Garrett said his message to Elliott was to “get back to work” and that Elliott “looked good” and his spirits “seemed good.”
On Tuesday, Elliott and the full team will be together at The Star for the first time since the Cowboys beat the Kansas City Chiefs on Nov. 5. They will have meetings and conditioning before they have their first practice Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks.
The Cowboys removed Elliott from the reserve/suspended list and cut running back Trey Williams to make room for Elliott on the active roster.
Garrett was not ready to commit Monday to how much the Cowboys will use Elliott in their final two games.
“Just have to wait and see,” Garrett said. “Got to see how he is [Tuesday], got to see how he practices as the week goes on.”
The Cowboys weren’t shy in how much they used Elliott in the first eight games of the season before the suspension. Elliott ran for 783 yards on 191 carries and seven touchdowns and had at least 93 yards rushing in each of his past four games, topping out at 150 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns in a win at the Washington Redskins on Oct. 29.
Earlier this year, the Cowboys worked David Irving back into the lineup after a four-game suspension for violating the substance-abuse policy. Damontre Moore returned from a two-game suspension. Fortunately or unfortunately, the Cowboys know what to look for when a player comes back from a layoff.
“I just think the obvious things: what kind of condition are they in, how’s their movement, can they sustain it, do they look functional, do they look smooth, do they look natural out there,” Garrett said. “And again, we anticipate him being able to do all the things we ask him to do and hopefully get him reacclimated quickly.”
Elliott spent his suspension working out in Cabo and is said to be in better condition. Garrett did not agree with the premise that Elliott was not in top shape for the first eight games.
“Typically, when you’re away from the team, you have to find ways to stay in shape and get yourself ready to come back and play football,” Garrett said. “Obviously, he was very productive for us the first half of the season, productive as a runner, did a lot of really good things for our football team. He was away from our team, and obviously, what you want to do is stay in shape to come back and reacclimate yourself to playing pro football.”