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Jason Garrett: Ezekiel Elliott ‘very focused’ on Week 1 preparation

Ezekiel Elliott will be allowed to play in the Dallas Cowboys’ Week 1 showdown with the division-rival New York Giants on Sunday night. And Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett says the second-year running back is “very focused” at the task at hand despite the ongoing suspension controversy.

Elliott, who took part in the week’s only padded practice Wednesday, has been cleared to play Sunday despite arbitrator Harold Henderson upholding his six-game suspension Tuesday night. A technicality on the timing of Henderson’s ruling cleared the path to Elliott’s Week 1 eligibility.

When exactly a resolution about Elliott’s status will be reached remains unclear. Despite the uncertainty, Garrett insists the running back isn’t allowing it to serve as a distraction.

“He seems very focused, locked in on meetings, the walk-through,” Garrett said, via ESPN. “We’ll have a good practice today. He’s done an excellent job in his preparation.”

Garrett also stressed the Cowboys won’t allow Elliott’s suspension drama distract the team, either.

“I think the biggest thing for all of us is to focus on what we need to do each and every day,” Garrett said. “That’s been a point that we’ve tried to emphasize to our team for a long, long time. Our team understands the importance of that. in order to be your best, you’ve got to focus on yourself and what you need to do in your preparation to play your best football. So that’s really where our focus is. We don’t spend a lot of time on other stuff.”

The Cowboys cannot help but at least feel somewhat distracted by the protracted investigation, subsequent suspension and appeal process involving Elliott. And given he was a key cog to what the Cowboys accomplished in a 13-3 campaign last season makes his presence critical to the team’s prospects for success in 2017.

Still, there is no clear indication of how everything will play out with Elliott going forward. And such uncertainty has to be a little unsettling.