FRISCO, Texas - Ezekiel Elliott's Thursday press conference isn't a likely place to get a Randy Gregory update, but it was a welcome one.
Elliott has been a steady highlight reel of successful pass blocking from the running back position this season, so his opinion of pass rushers counts for something. And to hear it from him, Gregory's current status sounds awfully intriguing.
"Randy was lights out, out there today," Elliott said. "It was really tough to block him. I'm excited to get Randy back. He's got those fresh legs. He just looks better than I've ever seen him."
Obviously, the Cowboys are looking for any good news they can find for a beleaguered defense. They rank 27th in total defense and dead-last in scoring defense. Their vaunted pass rush has sagged for most of the first five games - which is hopefully something Gregory can help fix when he is eligible to return.
"I remember when he came out as many people do, and he's a very athletic individual that's a good football player," said defensive coordinator. "And, so, we'll see, again, I'm not sure what the timetable is, but we'll certainly be able to use him when he does become available to us."
Strictly speaking, the timetable is soon. Gregory won't be available Monday night against Arizona, but he will be eligible to play the next week against Washington.
Obviously, there are several things to take into consideration. Gregory hasn't played organized football since the end of the 2018 season. He was reinstated that summer and was a fantastic success story, posting 25 tackles, 25 pressures and six sacks for a defense that helped the Cowboys win the division.
He was suspended by the NFL for a fourth time just a month after the Cowboys' playoff loss to the L.A. Rams, and he hadn't put on a uniform since he got back to the practice field two weeks ago.
All of that said, Elliott isn't the only person who is encouraged by what he's seeing from Gregory. Asked about it Thursday, Cowboys chief operating officer Stephen Jones said it looks like Gregory hasn't missed a beat.
"Randy Gregory, I was just out at practice watching him ... nothing's changed," Jones said. "He's still special. He opened a lot of eyes out there. It was great to see him back."
There's still another week to wait, but it's a nice bit of encouraging news for a defense that could use some.
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