Since entering the league, Ezekiel Elliott has had no problem producing on the field for the Dallas Cowboys.
The Ohio State product has collected two rushing titles in his three years in the league, and nearly hit the 1,000-yard mark in 2017, despite playing in just 10 games.
Simply said, he’s one of the most talent backs in the NFL, which still might be an understatement on his abilities.
What has troubled Elliott has been his behavior away from the field, which has led to suspensions, investigations and scrutiny from those around him.
Most notably, Elliott was served a six-game suspension in 2017 after a long legal battle against the NFL against allegations of domestic abuse. Elliott was never arrested or charged, but spent time on the sideline.
The latest episode in the Zeke saga came in May at the Electric Daisy Carnival festival in Las Vegas. In a video published by TMZ, Elliott is seen arguing with a woman. Later in the clip, a security guard confronts the Cowboys running back and Elliott gets in his face.
“You got something to say,” Elliott told the security officer.
He then appears to make contact with the man with his forearm, pushing him back into a barrier.
Elliott was handcuffed but not arrested by Las Vegas police after an incident, but the narrative around the RBs lack of maturity and bad decision making off the field surfaced once again.
Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown said he’s spoken to Elliott and the running back knows he has to be better.
He’s too valuable to the Cowboys if they hope to improve on their divisional round exit a year ago.
“We’ve talked about it,” Brown said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “He understands, ‘I can’t put myself in those positions. I’ve got to be smarter.’ . . .He already knows that he may have done something that wasn’t right. He’s got to move forward. We all make mistakes.”
What makes the incident even more embarrassing is that video of the incident surfaced just days after the Cowboys star did an interview with CBS Dallas, where the interviewer heaped praise on Elliott for taking the next step as a player and person, as well as an “off the charts” maturity level.
“I came into this league really young and had a lot to learn,” Elliott said in response. “I got those boo boos and messed up a couple of times and learned from my mistakes. It made me a better person.”
Tough timing there, but Brown said the team is not holding this latest ordeal against the All-Pro back.
“Even the greatest leaders make mistakes,” Brown said. “We have to be understanding of that and talk to him about just being better and move forward. We can’t beat him down for that. Obviously we don’t want him in that situation, but we just move on, talk to him and move on.”
What ended up saving Zeke, at least at the time, was that Kyle Johnson — a 19-year-old college football player — did not want to press charges. He has changed his tune a bit since.
“I didn’t want to make a rash decision that soon without evaluating it further,” Johnson said an interview with CBS Los Angeles. “I mean, it was 3 in the morning. I was shocked.”
Johnson has said he wants a sincere apology from the running back, which he citied as one of his “football idols.”
According to Yahoo Sports, the NFL is expected to investigate the Vegas incident, although Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters, “I don’t see that having any consequences for us.”
With Elliott’s history with the NFL, the Cowboys shouldn’t be so sure.