That Tony Pollard is receiving newfound, widespread acclaim comes as no surprise to the Dallas Cowboys rookie running back.
“I have high expectations for myself, and I have a lot of confidence in myself,” Pollard told reporters on Tuesday. “I feel like I have the talent to do whatever I put my mind to.”
This is Pollard: A fourth-round pick from Memphis dripping with game-busting potential. But, perhaps more importantly, the current fill-in starter for disgruntled holdout RB Ezekiel Elliott, who skipped the entirety of training camp and the Cowboys’ first two preseason games while aiming to become among the highest-paid at his position.
He’s the guy who many Dallas players and coaches are raving about. The catalyst for owner Jerry Jones’ controversial zing lobbed in Zeke’s direction. The runner that stands to steal the spotlight for as long as Elliott stays away from The Star.
With all due respect to the two-time NFL rushing champion, Pollard isn’t backing down from the RB1 responsibilities.
Quite the opposite — he’s embracing them, “ready for whatever” happens between his mentor and employer.
“I 100 percent believe in myself,” Pollard said, via Jon Machota of The Athletic (per Pro Football Talk), “so I feel like if that’s the case, if that happens, then I’ll be ready for it.”
Garrett Gushes Over Pollard
Jones’ outlandish reaction to Pollard’s impressive showing in last week’s preseason victory over the Rams, in which he totaled 42 rushing yards and a touchdown on five carries, should shock absolutely no one. But Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett is of the even-keeled variety, the antithesis of Jones, so his outward praise took many aback, abundant as it was.
“Tony is very poised,” Garrett said after the game. “He plays with maturity beyond his years and we’re only a couple of preseason games into it and not a lot of plays into. It kind of follows with what we’ve seen in practice and just how he handles himself. So, again he’s off to a good start. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s going about it the right way.”
Jones, meanwhile, hinted that Pollard and Elliott could share a backfield upon the latter’s eventual re-entry into football activities. The former is posing no resistance to the idea.
“I see it being hard to beat us, especially when he comes back, and we get everything going,” Pollard said, per Pro Football Talk.
Pollard to Continue as Starter
Provided the Cowboys and Elliott don’t reach an accord in the ensuing days, Pollard will handle the lion’s share of reps in Saturday’s regular season dress rehearsal against the Houston Texans — the closest simulation to a game that, you know, counts. And another spotlight opportunity for the 6-foot, 215-pound Pollard, whose motivation is immeasurable.
“Anything that I’ve had in life, anything that I’ve gotten, it was never just the case where it was given to me,” he said. “I just keep that same mindset, on and off the field.”
Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL