Ezekiel Elliott is back to work, and Jason Garrett isn't backing off

FRISCO, Texas -- A week ago, Ezekiel Elliott was a spectator at the Dallas Cowboys’ organized team activities because of lingering soreness from a May 21 car accident.

This week, Elliott is back at practice, looking just like he did a year ago when he led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards.

Elliott had 322 carries in 15 games a year ago and ran for 15 touchdowns. He caught 32 passes for 363 yards and a touchdown. He played on 716 snaps.

All of those numbers could increase in 2017, considering Elliott’s importance to the Cowboys offense, but head coach Jason Garrett isn’t about to put the second-year running back on a pitch count in practice. Veterans like Jason Witten and Sean Lee might get that treatment. Those returning from injuries, like Jaylon Smith, Tyrone Crawford, DeMarcus Lawrence and Stephen Paea might get that treatment. But not Elliott. Not yet, anyway.

“He just needs to practice,” Garrett said. “You don’t need to complicate that situation. He didn't practice last week. He is a young player. He got off to a good start last year. He is still learning. He needs to go out there and practice. Zeke loves to practice. He loves football. He is chomping at the bit. Even when he couldn't practice last week, he was involved in the walk-throughs. You can see the passion in his face and the bounce in his step. He loves being out there and he is getting better and better every day.”