Jerry Jones: Cowboys certainly support Ezekiel Elliott

Dallas Cowboys owner has once again declined to specifically comment on ’s six-game suspension, but he did say the second-year running back has the team’s support in his fight against the ban.

Speaking to reporters after the Cowboys’ preseason victory over the , Jones reiterated his stance from last week that he was not ready to talk about the suspension.

“I just want to get my thoughts together, see some more cards played and just see kind of how this thing turns out,” Jones said. “I know that they’ve got a real important date set [appeal on Aug. 29] and want that to have every opportunity it can to have things in its best light. But we certainly are in support of Zeke.”

Jones went on to say he is hopeful for the matter to be resolved in a timely manner.

“Of course I’m hopeful we’ll have Zeke back in there pretty quick too, as far as looking at it like you might an injury or something like that,” he said, per The Dallas Morning News. “We’ve got a lot of football to play under any circumstances regarding this suspension.”

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Elliott was suspended six games by the NFL on Aug. 11 for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He is appealing the ruling.

The six-game ban stems solely from the league’s investigation into the domestic violence allegations made by a woman who claimed to be Elliott’s former girlfriend, a league source told NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The Cowboys do have some insurance with Hitchens sidelined for significant time, listing veteran linebacker Justin Durant behind Hitchens in the two-deep. Durant didn’t play Saturday but is expected to be ready to play in Week 1. There’s also the presence of Jaylon Smith, who continues his long road back from a major knee injury suffered in January 2016. Dallas likely won’t change Smith’s course out of necessity, though.

Dallas re-signed Durant last season after the linebacker’s stint in Atlanta, and retained him going into 2017 for these types of situations. How much the Cowboys will have to lean on the veteran remains to be seen as we await the medical evaluation and of Hitchens.

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Owner Jerry Jones told reporters that the linebacker will play in the upcoming preseason game.

It will be Smith’s first game since suffering a torn ACL and nerve damage before being drafted in the second-round last season.

Smith’s knee and the question of whether or not his nerve is regenerating have accounted for endless headlines since he was drafted by the Cowboys. Some, including Jones himself, wondered if the knee would ever get healthy enough to where Smith could be an effective NFL player.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. The team eased Smith into camp workouts and now he is ready to go. How many snaps he plays remains unknown.

A Cowboys defense that lost several pieces this offseason, and had several more suspended to start the season, desperately needs Smith to be 100 percent when Dallas opens the regular season versus the New York Giants.

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