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If DeMarco Murray returns to Cowboys, workload could lessen

INDIANAPOLIS -- If DeMarco Murray returns to the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, then owner and general manager Jerry Jones would not anticipate the All-Pro running back to have such a large amount of carries.

“I don’t think we would go into a season now with Murray thinking that he was going to have the load that he had last year,” Jones said. “I don’t believe we would.”

Murray led the NFL and set team records with 392 carries and 1,845 yards in 2014, easily outdistancing his previous career highs set in 2013 with 217 carries for 1,121 yards. In the playoffs Murray had 44 more carries for 198 yards. He also had 61 catches in the regular season and postseason.

Murray had at least 24 carries in six of the first eight games but hit that figure -- or more -- three times in the second half of the season. He had four 100-yard games in the final eight games and the Cowboys were more mindful of his work as the season wore on.

“Murray is such a warrior and Murray is such a horse, he’d actually get upset if you took him out of the game,” Jones said. “But it was [not] the thing to do for Murray to let those guys have more touches. Now, why did we go along with it? We just happened to be doing you know what? Winning. We were very successful so it’s hard to make that change.”

If the Cowboys re-sign Murray it will be at a significant cost, so limiting his work seems counterintuitive. But Jones wonders if less work early would make Murray better later.

“I think that’s probably where you would go to as far as that kind of load and you say, ‘Boy, you want to point to playoffs and you have a back like that, OK would you like to maybe saving for some playoff runs?’” Jones said. “Down near the end of the season, you’re saving for some playoffs. Let’s lighten his load a little bit. Does that make any sense? Of course it does. It really does.”

And if the Cowboys are unable to keep Murray, Jones envisions a possible committee to get the job done.

“You may have two backs,” Jones said. “You may have two. I have given you the what-ifs. I don’t want to sound negative about not having Murray.”