HONOLULU — It is absolutely necessary to shout this from the rooftops -- he was kidding.

But on Saturday night, after rookie running back Tony Pollard ran for 42 yards on five carries, and caught one pass for 9 yards -- all on a 12-play, 97-yard touchdown drive with the Cowboys first unit -- Jones was asked whether Pollard was his 'best negotiator' with Ezekiel Elliott, because of his strong play this preseason.

Jones paused, contemplated, and then dropped the one-liner.

"Zeke who?"

Laughter, some quick backtracking from Jones ("we're just having fun... not at your expense" he said, ostensibly to Elliott himself), and then some legitimate analysis of what happened on Saturday night.

"Now I will say this, that was a critical blitz pickup that got our quarterback killed," Jones said of an early whiff by Pollard in pass blocking, that led to a sack of Dak Prescott. "You gotta be able to make that block."

Jones did sing Pollard's praises, though, for what he did over the rest of the drive.

"What's amazing, [is] for him to come in here, and he hasn't done that much," Jones said, "he knows exactly what to do, and he knows how to do it."

"He goes out there and he plays to that level," Jones continued, "and he's gonna be, if he continues this through the next several weeks, he's gonna right in the middle of it early.  And that will really complement what we're doing with Zeke."

"Not replace that," Jones clarified. "And I mean that. Not replace it. Nobody is getting cute here. But, [Pollard] will certainly be a great complement... I can picture those guys in the same sets, at the same time out there, and really giving those defenses fits."

Elliott has been holding out since the beginning of training camp, negotiating for a new contract with the Cowboys that would pay him as one of the richest backs in the NFL, if not topping that chart.  He returned home to Dallas from his trip to Cabo earlier this week, and will continue training with his personal team to get ready for the season, while the negotiations continue.

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