Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott set to return Monday

By Eric Gilmore, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 18, 2017 at 11:04 AM
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- The Dallas Cowboys will get a boost for the final two games of their stretch run.

Running back Ezekiel Elliott on Sunday served the sixth and final game of his suspension for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy. Elliott, who rushed for a league-high 1,631 yards last season, will rejoin the team on Monday morning.

"He gives us an extra boost because of his personality and who he is," Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant said after Dallas' 20-17 victory over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night. "He gets guys going with his attitude, the passion and love for the game. Just seeing him back will make us play that much harder. Can't wait."

Dallas lost its first three games without Elliott before winning the past three.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he is excited about having Elliott back for his team's final two games, at home against the Seattle Seahawks at home and on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles.

"We're just glad to have him back," Jones said. "Maybe we'll get a chance to do something special. Maybe we can get in the playoffs."

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett praised the work running backs Alfred Morris and Rod Smith did filling in, but he is happy to have his top ball-carrier return.

"He's a great football player," Garrett said. "Obviously he's made a big impact on our football team in the time he's been with us, but real credit to Alfred Morris and Rod Smith for playing as well as they have in his absence. But any time you add a player of Zeke's caliber back in the lineup, he's going to help you. He's going to take some pressure off everybody else."

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The game was tied 17-17 with 5:09 left to play Sunday when the Cowboys faced a crucial fourth-and-1 at their 39-yard line. Quarterback Dak Prescott got the first down on a sneak, but it wasn't official until after a bizarre measurement. The call was so close that referee Gene Steratore used an index card to make sure there was no space between the tip of the football and the pole.

"The final decision was made visually," Steratore told a pool reporter. "The card was used (for) nothing more than a reaffirmation. The decision was made based on my visual from the top looking down and the ball touching the front of the pole."

Raiders coach Jack Del Rio held back when asked for his reaction to Steratore's decision and use of an index card.

"I don't want to get fined, OK?" Del Rio said. "I'm not happy with the way things were done. A lot of different situations throughout the night. They did the best they could. I had a different viewpoint. I saw air. It was pretty obvious."

The Cowboys continued driving and took a 20-17 lead on Dan Bailey's 19-yard field goal with 1:44 left to play.

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