Dallas Cowboys

Darren McFadden feels ‘worse than disappointed’ to be on NFI list

Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden will not be on the field for the first six weeks of the season because he’s on the non-football injury list with an elbow injury. Ezekiel Elliott will be the opening day starter on Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden will not be on the field for the first six weeks of the season because he’s on the non-football injury list with an elbow injury. Ezekiel Elliott will be the opening day starter on Sunday. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

FRISCO _ Dallas Cowboys running back Darren McFadden is not happy with the team’s decision to place him on the non-football injury list to start the season, forcing him to miss the first six weeks.

McFadden will be eligible to return to practice on Oct. 17, but with the bye week, the first game he could play in would be Oct. 30 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

McFadden, the team’s leading rusher last season who recently named the team’s offensive MVP for that season, has been sidelined since fracturing his elbow in June.

He missed all of training camp, but had returned to practice this week.

The Cowboys placed him on NFI when final cuts were made because they wanted to give the elbow more time to heal and him more time to get in better conditioning.

“I don’t know if disappointment is the word for it,” McFadden said. “It’s worse than disappointment to me. I was definitely hoping to be back out there for the start. It’s one of those things I have to sit back and get ready.”

McFadden rushed for 1,089 yards last season. He had five 100-yard games and two games with more than 90 yards in the final 11 games of the season.

McFadden said the injury is fully healed to him. But the trainers are making sure he can protect himself when he is ready to go.

He doesn’t have full extension in his elbow and it might never return. But he said he has full range of motion and can do everything he needs to do as far as football is concerned.

“My thing is I always feel like I’m ready to go,” McFadden said. “I still feel like I’m ready to go. To me, as far the injury, it’s pretty healed. It’s just a matter of me getting the strength back. I’m still building all my strength back around it. The trainers know more than me as far as me being able to go out there and protect myself as I need to be.”

The Cowboys also made the move help alleviate a logjam at running back. They already have four runners on the roster in Ezekiel Elliott, Alfred Morris, Lance Dunbar and Darius Jackson. They also have fullbacks Keith Smith and Rod Smith.

Putting McFadden on NFI gives them a chance to let things shake out before making a permanent decision.

The move also saves the Cowboys some money as the team is not obligated to pay him his $1.25 base salary while he is on NFI. His roster bonuses of $31,250 are also out the door as long as he is on NFI.

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