LOS ANGELES -- Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones expressed support for running back Ezekiel Elliott, who was suspended six games Friday, but also said the team believes in replacements Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Rod Smith.
Speaking on the pregame show on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas before the Cowboys' 13-10 preseason loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Jones offered the organization's first statement since Elliott's suspension was announced.
"Obviously, we knew that this was something that could happen," Jones said. "We knew that the investigation was ongoing, and whenever you prepare a football team, you prepare for injury. You prepare for things that are unexpected. And certainly we have done that and are comfortable with who we are on this football team. If we have to play with other running backs, we like the running backs on this team. But at the end of the day, we certainly support Zeke. At the same time, we understand the very, very, very serious nature of domestic violence, certainly that people should be held accountable if that takes place."
Owner and general manager Jerry Jones was not expected to meet with the media after Saturday's game against the Rams. Coach Jason Garrett was scheduled for his normal postgame news conference.
Elliott's suspension comes as a result of an investigation that started more than a year ago after an ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence in Columbus, Ohio. The Columbus City Attorney's office announced in September that it would not pursue charges against Elliott because of "conflicting and inconsistent information," but the NFL can penalize a player even without legal charges.
Elliott, the league's leading rusher last season, is planning to appeal the suspension. He released a statement Friday saying he was "surprised and disappointed" by the punishment. He was on the field during pregame warm-ups Saturday but did not suit up.