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Cowboys news: Ezekiel Elliott not expected to play vs. Bears

The latest news and notes about the Dallas Cowboys

NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Unsure of Ezekiel Elliott’s status against the Bears, the Cowboys activate two running backs from the practice squad-

After sustaining a knee injury last week against the Detroit Lions, running back Ezekiel Elliott is likely unavailable on Sunday and the team is making necessary preparations.

Ezekiel Elliott has not been officially ruled out of Sunday’s matchup against the Bears, but he was listed as doubtful on the Cowboys injury report on Friday. Having hinted heavily at the likelihood of resting Elliott’s knee injury this week - via both Jerry Jones and Mike McCarthy - another sign has landed by way of running back Malik Davis being signed to the active 53-man roster.

Davis was a member of the team’s 17-man practice squad unit and takes the spot of linebacker Devin Harper, the latter having been moved to injured reserve on Saturday with an Achilles injury. It’s unclear if Damone Clark, activated from reserve on Wednesday, will take the field this weekend, but the door might be open now with Harper on IR.

Circling back to the offensive side of the ball, and with what could be yet another sign of Elliott not returning until after the bye week, the Cowboys elevated running back Qadree Ollison from the practice squad to provide insurance for Tony Pollard and Malik Davis.

Tony Pollard ready for heavy-duty in place of Ezekiel Elliott- Todd Archer, ESPN

With the arrow pointing downward in reference to Elliott’s availability versus Chicago, his replacement Tony Pollard is prepared to fill Elliott’s shoes and his workload.

The Cowboys might find it better to hold Elliott out this week and rest him during next week’s bye to make sure he is good for the final nine games of the regular season. If they do, then Tony Pollard will get a chance many have wanted to see since Elliott suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee last season. “I mean, whatever they ask of me to carry, I got it,” Pollard said. “They call it, I’m gonna haul it.”

Pollard has never had more than 14 carries in an NFL game. The last time he had more was in his final game at Memphis in the Birmingham Bowl against Wake Forest on Dec. 22, 2018, when he carried 17 times for 109 yards and a touchdown.

Ever since the Cowboys selected him in the fourth round in 2019, the question has been how much work he can handle? At Memphis, he played more as a slot receiver than running back. With the Cowboys, his usage has ticked up each season. He had 86 carries as a rookie (behind Elliott’s 301), then 101 carries in 2020 and 130 carries in 2021.

He is on pace for 163 carries this season, which would rise if Elliott does not play against the Bears. What Pollard has delivered is explosive runs. He had a 58-yard touchdown last season against the New Orleans Saints. He had a 57-yarder for a score this season against the Los Angeles Rams. He has had runs of 46, 28 and 25 yards.

Bears starting offensive lineman ruled out with a concussion and will promote former first-round pick to active roster- Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.,

The Chicago Bears will be without their starting offensive tackle Larry Borom versus Dallas and will activate Alex Leatherwood from the non-football injury list ahead of Sunday’s contest.

The team placed starting center Lucas Patrick on injured reserve, so Sam Mustipher will return to the starting lineup, and right tackle Larry Borom is listed as out with a concussion. It’s likely that veteran Riley Reiff will make his starting debut for the Bears on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys in place of Borom.

The Bears also activated offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood to their 53-man roster today. He was in the middle of his three-week practice window after spending a four-game stint on the NFI list with mono.

He did start a few games at right tackle as a rookie with the Raiders last year, and the Bears did indicate that’s where they’d work him out when they claimed him. However, there were reports this week that Reiff was running with the ones.

Dallas Cowboys will “reunite” with a familiar face in Bears head Matt Eberflus- Gabby Hajduk,

Once an assistant of former Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus returns to face his former team and speaks glowingly of the Cowboys front office.

After starting his NFL coaching career with the Browns for one year, Eberflus joined the Cowboys in 2011 as the team’s linebackers coach.

While coaching in Dallas, he also met Rod Marinelli, who Eberflus has called one of the most influential mentors of his career. Marinelli, a longtime NFL defensive coach and former Bears defensive coordinator, went to Dallas in 2013 to become the defensive line coach then served as the defensive coordinator from 2014-2018.

While Eberflus said there won’t be any different emotions when traveling back to Dallas, he expects a “great atmosphere,” while voicing his respect for the organization.

“I can’t say enough about the Jones family,” Eberflus said. “They’re an unbelievable ownership. It’s family-oriented. Mr. Jones has been nothing but loyal to me over those years. Seven years is a long time, close relationship with him. Then also Stephen [Jones], obviously a close relationship with him. He’s day-to-day working in the business there. Will McClay, the GM, does an outstanding job. So nothing but nice things to say and certainly enjoyed my time when I was there, for sure.”

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