Cowboys Reveal Reason for Benching 4-Time Pro Bowler: ‘Discipline’

Jerry Jones

Getty Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and head coach Mike McCarthy speak to the media at a press conference.

The Dallas Cowboys turned heads with their 54-point performance against the Indianapolis Colts, but also with the benching of one of the team’s stars.

Dallas exploded in the second half against the Colts with a 33-point fourth quarter that turned a close 21-19 game into a 54-19 rout. Running back Tony Pollard led the way offensively with 91 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Indianapolis.

Ezekiel Elliott made an impact too with 77 rushing yards and a score, but only after he was benched to start the game. Pollard opened the game up for Dallas, and finished with more touches and all-around production.

According to Star-Telegram reporter Clarence Hill Jr., Cowboys owner Jerry Jones spoke on why Elliott was benched after the game, revealing that it was a disciplinary action for a minor offense.

“Ezekiel Elliott didn’t start because discipline from the Cowboys staff, per owner Jerry Jones,” Hill Tweeted on December 4. “Jerry Jones didnt know the reason exactly. He said late to a meeting or phone going off in meeting. Jones said it was nothing he would have benched Elliott for.”

Of course, the discipline itself is interesting but Jones also saying he wouldn’t have benched Zeke adds another layer of intrigue. At least on this issue, the Cowboys owner doesn’t agree with the decision made by his coaching staff.

Zeke on the Recruiting Trail?

Zeke’s immediate and long-term future has been a major talking point of Dallas’ 2022 season, as Pollard’s role has expanded this year and the four-time Pro Bowler’s hefty contract is likely to be addressed some way or another this offseason.

But while speculation around Elliott and the Cowboys continue, Elliott is spending time with future NFL running back Bijan Robinson. The Texas Longhorns star apparently hung out with Elliott after “visiting” Dallas’ game against the Colts.

“Texas running back Bijan Robinson, a prospective first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, was at the Cowboys-Colts game ‘visiting,'” Hill Jr. wrote. “He may or may not have hung out little with running back Ezekiel Elliott and his peeps.”

With Pollard in the last year of his deal and Elliott’s contract as a factor, Robinson visiting is interesting. He could be an option for either of the current Cowboys RBs roster spots, should they let Pollard or Elliott walk.

Robinson just put up his best regular season yet with 1580 rushing yards, 18 touchdowns and 6.1 yards per carry with Texas according to Sports Reference.

Cowboys RBs Making Moves

The game against the Colts was wrapped up by the time Elliott reached the endzone, but the score still meant something to the running back. Besides an exclamation point on the win, it was also Zeke’s 76th touchdown with the Cowboys.

That puts him over Dez Bryant (75) and into a tie for third with team legend and Olympic Gold Medalist Bob Hayes with 76. One score will put him into third alone, and nine touchdowns off second-most, which is Tony Dorsett with 86.

Meanwhile, Pollard is set for free agency after the 2022 season. But the 25-year-old running back has made an impressive case for a new deal with Dallas, and his latest performance just earned him a nomination for league-wide honor.

Pollard is in the running for the FedEx Ground Player of the Week award, which is a fan-voted award given to the best rushing performer of the NFL week. Cowboys fans can vote for Pollard by heading to the NFL’s website.

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