Mac Engel

Jerry Jones expects Zeke to miss games; fans, get off Zeke if he does

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The Dallas Cowboys’ fake season is over, and now we all wait for both the start of the regular season and the arrival of DFW’s latest, favorite Holdout.

So let us read from the Book of Ezekiel: “And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger....”

When Samuel L. Jackson says this in “Pulp Fiction,” it is an all-time Hollywood classic line. Now, if Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott says the same thing, someone is sweating.

Maybe it’s the Dallas Cowboys. Maybe it’s Jerry Jones. Maybe it’s Stephen Jones. Maybe it’s some loser security guard in Las Vegas who needs to get a life.

The most likely scenario is that Zeke will only enforce such feelings towards opponents, at some point, this fall.

“I’m operating as though right now he’s going to miss regular season games,” Jerry said after the Cowboys’ 17-15 loss to Tampa in the preseason finale on Thursday night. (I think that was the final score. I feel asleep in the third quarter).

“My entire expectation for what we’re putting together as a team right now would anticipate with him holding out ... that he’s going to miss games. I just accept that.”

We are not looking at a potential scenario of former Seahawks safety Earl Thomas shooting his sideline the middle finger. We’re talking about Jerry. It’s impossible to hate Jerry.

The guy you need to stop hating is Zeke.

If you want to be mad at Zeke for putting himself in dumb situations in late night hours on The Strip in Vegas, or somewhere else, now that fits.

Don’t hate him for holding out. You would do the exact same thing.

And if you wouldn’t do the exact same thing, you’re stupid. Probably don’t like dogs, either. And you’re ugly, too.

With the start of the regular nearly here, we have arrived at that point in Zeke Watch 2019 where the calendar no longer matters as much as the clock.

So let us read from the Book of Jerry: “Deadlines make deals.”

Just about that time.

Zeke has to sign his deal, leave Cabo and arrive no later than Wednesday of next week if he is going to see significant time in the opener. He must practice at least Thursday in order for him to start Sept. 8 against the New York Giants.

Fantasy owners, unless Zeke arrives in the next five minutes, there is virtually no scenario that exists where Zeke will run the ball 25 to 30 times against the Giants. I can’t see coach Jason Garrett just giving Zeke, even if he’s only 24 years old and in peak condition, that much work.

The priority for the Dallas Cowboys is simply to sign Zeke and have him in the building for the entire season. They will worry about Week 1, and the Giants, as it fits.

Rookie Tony Pollard is going to get some quality time in Week 1.

The priority for Zeke is to get as much money as possible right now. His value may never again be as high as it is right now.

If he’s not here and the Cowboys lose in Week 1, his value may actually go higher. That’s not a bet either party prefers to make.

Former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith did something similar to this in 1993. He missed games in a contract dispute, and the team lost.

On Wednesday, Smith told 105.3 The Fan: “You get a glimpse (of retirement in a holdout). It’s not a good feeling. When it comes down to negotiating, teams and owners and negotiators, they know those things, and they prey on those things. Because this is what you’ve been groomed to do. You’ve been waiting your whole life, and now it’s here. People have been telling you, ‘Earn it, and we’ll take care of you.’ You’ve got to trust, but verify, and now he’s trying to verify.”

In the NFL, it’s hard for any player to trust an owner. The system is set up to make all players expendable. Even the good ones.

So let us read from the Book of Chuck Daly (deceased ex NBA head coach): “It’s not about what you are worth. It’s about what you can get.”

Don’t think Zeke is being a selfish jerk for trying to get as much as he can get right now. That’s a lesson not just for Zeke, or an NFL player, but for any employee, anywhere, in any job.

This is simply the ugly business of pro sports, and specifically the NFL.

Zeke has given fans, and his bosses, plenty of reasons to be irritated, but this holdout is not one of them. This is business.

It’s not personal. It’s money.

Zeke is simply reading from the Book of Rocky Balboa (philosopher/fictional boxer): “Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth.”

Zeke is worth a lot, more than his current contract calls for him to be paid. He’s doing what any person in his situation should do.

And if you wouldn’t do what he’s doing, you’re a dope who doesn’t like dogs.

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Mac Engel is an award-winning columnist who has extensive experience covering Fort Worth-Dallas area sports for 20 years. He has covered high schools, colleges, all four major sports teams as well as Olympic games and the world of entertainment, too. He combines dry wit with first-person reporting to complement a head of hair that is almost unfair.
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