Cowboys RB Ronald Jones suspended two games for PEDs

OXNARD, Calif. -- Dallas Cowboys running back Ronald Jones has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy.

Jones said Tuesday his failed test was for heart medicine that he has been prescribed since he entered the league. While saying he is responsible for what he puts in his body, he expressed disappointed in the NFL's decision.

"We tried to appeal. I asked for a re-test, sample my blood, my health concerns and they didn't really look at it. I think there needs to be more protection for the players because if you have health issues, we're a human being outside of football and we have real-life issues too. My family suffers from heart disease," he said.

Jones, who signed a one-year contract with the Cowboys in March, can continue to practice during training camp and play in preseason games. His suspension takes effect on Sept. 3, and he is eligible to return to the Cowboys on Sept. 18, a day after their Week 2 meeting against the New York Jets.

Jones had just 17 carries in six games last year with the Kansas City Chiefs, finishing with 70 yards and a touchdown. His best season came in 2020, when he had 978 yards on 192 carries and seven touchdowns in helping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win the Super Bowl.

The Cowboys are thin on experience behind starting running back Tony Pollard, who is coming back from high-ankle surgery in January. Rico Dowdle, Malik Davis and Deuce Vaughn, a sixth-round pick in this year's draft, are competing for the spots behind Pollard with Jones.

Dowdle played in five games last year before an ankle injury ended his season. He has just seven carries for 24 yards in his career. Davis made the Cowboys last year as an undrafted free agent. He had 161 yards on 38 carries and a touchdown last year to go along with six catches for 63 yards.

"I tell you, I'm loving Rico," coach Mike McCarthy said before the announcement of Jones' suspension. "It's great to have him back. Malik, he's taken that jump that you're looking for. Those two guys have really jumped out. Obviously, we've got to get Deuce involved. I think that's important ... He's a guy that was on my mind during the summer."