Tony Pollard ‘fine’ with playing on franchise tag in 2023, ready to ‘haul’ starting running back workload

Despite the unrest at the running back position around the NFL, Dallas Cowboys’ new starter Tony Pollard is participating fully at training camp, at least as much as the coaching staff will let him coming off a gnarly ankle injury in the Cowboys’ NFC divisional round playoff loss at the San Francisco 49ers in January. The NFL’s leader in scrimmage yards per touch (5.9) last season is looking forward to proving he can be the lead back for the Cowboys in the team’s first season without Ezekiel Elliott, the No. 4 overall draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

“At this point, it is what it is,” Pollard said Wednesday, via The Athletic, at Cowboys training camp. “I signed the tag, I’m here in camp. I’m just ready to focus on the main thing and just stick to winning. Yeah, that’s [making $10 million fully guaranteed on the franchise tag] fine with me.”    

Even though Elliott’s release this offseason came in part because of Pollard’s top-shelf efficiency as his backup, the three-time Pro Bowl free agent went out of his way to send his successor words of encouragement ahead of the team’s first training camp practice on Wednesday. 

“It means a lot,” Pollard said, via The Dallas Morning News, when talking about Ezekiel Elliott wishing him good luck via text. “With his situation, not being anywhere, but him still checking on us and making sure we’re all right.”    

That’s head coach Mike McCarthy’s first thoughts on Pollard as he gets set to be his offense’s workhorse. The depth behind Pollard is inexperienced in terms of actual, NFL playtime between second-year, undrafted running back Malik Davis, 2023 sixth-round pick Deuce Vaughn, and fourth-year, undrafted running back Rico Dowdle. 

“I think the first thing is still recognizing he’s [Pollard] coming off an injury,” McCarthy said Wednesday when asked about managing Pollard as the team’s top running back in training camp. “That…


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