"I'm operating as though right now he's going to miss regular-season games."
When the Dallas Cowboys host the division rival New York Giants at Jerry's World in Week 1, the team will most likely be without All Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Zeke's holdout is now expected to spill over into the regular season and judging from Cowboys owner Jerry Jones' recent comments, they expect him to miss several games.
"I'm operating as though right now he's going to miss regular-season games," Jones said following the Cowboys 17-15 loss to the Tamps Bay Bucs on Thursday. "My entire expectation for what we're putting together as a team right now would anticipate with him holding out and not having any training camp that he's going to miss games. I just accept that."
Jones hinted at Elliott missing regular season action earlier this week, telling reporters that it's most important that the 24-year old star is ready to go for the playoff push.
"We've got a marathon here. We want Zeke when we get to the playoffs. We want Zeke when we're in the dog days of the season."
The Cowboys have reportedly offered to make Zeke the second-highest paid running back in the NFL, which would mean a contract less than Todd Gurley's $57.5M deal but more than Le'Veon Bell's $52.5M. However, the specifics of the proposed deal, most notably the amount of guaranteed money, remains unknown.
As his contract is currently constructed, Zeke is owed $3.853 million this season and $9.099 million on the fifth-year option in 2020, according to NFL.com. Last season, his third in the NFL, Elliott led the league in rushing with 1,434 yards on the ground to go along with 567 receiving yards, and nine total touchdowns.
In his absence, the Cowboys will be rolling with Tony Pollard as their starting RB.