OXNARD, California – Tony Pollard has spent his first three seasons in the NFL as a backup to star running back Ezekiel Elliott, but starting this season the Cowboys plan on giving the fourth-year pro a much bigger role.
In the past, Pollard had been more of a third-down back used primarily to give Elliott a breather. But with Elliott showing some wear and tear thanks to a nagging knee injury he fought through in the final three months of the season, Pollard showcased some serious potential. He racked up 719 rushing yards, averaged 5.5 yards per carry and scored a pair of touchdowns. The Cowboys want Pollard to get more touches, and Elliott is perfectly fine with that.
“We’re each other’s biggest fans,” Pollard said. “It’s not about rotating, but just being on the field together, being out there more.”
“Tony is a hell of a player,” Elliott said. “I go in there and pound them a little bit, and he’s going to go in there and break some long ones.”
Pollard won’t be limited to the ground game. The Cowboys are planning on using him as a receiver out of the backfield and in the slot as well. He caught 39 passes for 337 yards in 2022, both career-highs.
“I don’t want to say too much, but having both of us out there at the same time, having defenses confused on who they need to cover, who is the running back and who is out as the receiver,” Pollard said. “Running back to me is now second nature, but receiver is pretty much a new thing I’m learning now.”
Pollard admitted he was frustrated at times, but is excited for the opportunities next season presents.