The Dallas Cowboys signed running back Ronnie Hillman to bolster their depth at the position.
Hillman was one of two running backs they worked out last week, including Denard Robinson.
With Jahad Thomas sidelined with hamstring issues dating back to the off-season, the Cowboys have just four backs getting work in practice, starter Ezekiel Elliott, veteran backups Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris and Rod Smith.
Hillman is also considered an option to fill the role vacated by Lance Dunbar, who signed with the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent. Dunbar served as a third-down option and kick returner.
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“Jahad has been out the whole time,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He came into training camp, we thought he was going to be healthy, he wasn’t able to get through that first practice. We just need a guy to come in and compete and run with the different groups we have out in practice, and certainly when we get into the preseason games. Hillman is a guy who has had some success in this league. He had a good workout with us last week and we’re excited to bring him here.”
Both Garrett and owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys did not sign Hillman because they feared a suspension for Elliott, who continues to wait on the result of a year-long investigation from the NFL.
It’s more of what Hillman is as a scatback and third-down back in the mold of Dunbar.
“No, it has nothing to do with Elliott,” Jones said. “We wanted to have that style running back in the mix. Jahad has a bad hamstring. We replaced him with Hillman.”
McFadden is the main option for the Cowboys if something happens to Elliott.
The Cowboys just hope Hillman can show some of his former spark.
Hillman rushed for 863 yards with the Denver Broncos in 2015, but was cut in training camp last year. He had brief stints with the Minnesota Vikings and San Diego Chargers in 2016 and went unsigned a free agent before joining the Cowboys.