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Without Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys prepare for Chiefs

FRISCO, Texas -- Jason Garrett's message to the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday, their first day without Ezekiel Elliott: Life goes on.

As Elliott seeks legal avenues to delay his six-game suspension, the Cowboys held their first full-padded practice without their leading rusher. During the portion of practice open to the media, Alfred Morris took the first handoff from Dak Prescott. Garrett said the Cowboys will use Morris, Darren McFadden and Rod Smith in Elliott's absence.

"We have great confidence in those guys," Garrett said. "They've had success in this league. Obviously Alfred is someone who's been very productive as a runner in this league. Darren was very productive for us a couple years ago, and we feel really good about Rod Smith and how he's developed and the role that he can play for us. All of those guys will play, and we'll just keep going down the road."

Per NFL rules, Elliott cannot be around the team during his suspension. However, he can have contact with the strength and conditioning coaches and athletic trainers. Garrett said the last time he spoke with Elliott was after Sunday's win against the Washington Redskins. Elliott flew from Washington to New York for his hearing.

The Cowboys have prepared for the possibility of not having Elliott since the summer. Elliott, 22, received the six-game suspension on Aug. 11 for a violation of the league's personal conduct policy related to domestic violence allegations by a former girlfriend. He was never charged with any crime by the Columbus, Ohio, authorities who investigated the allegations.

The NFLPA was granted a preliminary injunction by a federal judge in Texas on Sept. 8, but a federal appeals court in New Orleans ruled with the NFL on Oct. 12, lifted the injunction and ordered the dismissal of Elliott's lawsuit there. The NFLPA then went to the Southern District Court in New York, where the case now resides. A U.S. District judge granted Elliott a temporary restraining order on Oct. 17 that allowed him to play in the past two games, but that order was expiring.

A judge denied Elliott's request for a preliminary injunction and he is now appealing to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court. The NFL Players Association will ask for an expedited hearing, but the earliest it would be heard is early next week.

Without Elliott, the Cowboys will have a different look offensively, but stylistically they want to remain the same, leaning on the run. What Garrett does not want is players like Prescott, Dez Bryant and the running backs to feel as if they need to do more.

"The most important thing you can do in football is go out and do your job," Garrett said. "There's 11 guys on each play that have a job and a responsibility to do. What we try to do as coaches is emphasize the importance of everybody doing their job to their fullest. And we'll continue to do that."