Ezekiel Elliott’s continued off-the-field antics put him in the scope of the NFL’s front office, but this time, Elliott evaded further punishment and will be free to run another day.
The former Ohio State Buckeye running back met with Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, last week regarding his most recent anti-behavioral incident. A video was released to the public shortly after this unfortunate incident occurred Elliott was in Las Vegas attending an event being held outside along the street back in May.
It was very clear in the video that Elliott had consumed alcohol substances prior to his incident. Afterward, Elliott got into a brief argument with one of the street security guards and proceeded to slightly bump and push the security guard to the ground. However, Elliott wasn’t arrested, he was only detained.
For roughly two months the NFL has conducted a rigorous investigation into Elliott to determine if the star running back violated the terms of the NFL’s conduct policy. This investigation included multiple interviews with different witnesses, security guard personnel, and a heavy review of documentary information.
At the conclusion of the investigation and his meeting with Elliott, Goodell and his camp released a statement informing the sports world that Elliott wouldn’t be punished for his actions during the Las Vegas incident and he didn’t violate the NFL’s conduct policy.
The NFL’s full statement is listed below:
Immediately following reports of an incident in Las Vegas in May involving Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys, the NFL conducted a comprehensive investigation that included interviews with multiple witnesses, including security personnel and others with direct involvement, as well as a review of documentary and other information.
On Tuesday, as part of the review, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Mr. Elliott to reinforce the standards of conduct expected of him and the consequences for failing to meet those standards.
Mr. Elliott acknowledged that he demonstrated poor judgment and committed to making better choices in the future. He volunteered to take advantage of the resources available to help him continue to grow personally.
Commissioner Goodell determined there was no violation of the personal conduct policy and no further action is warranted.
Despite not being arrested or charged with a crime in the Las Vegas incident, the NFL could have taken action against Elliott for violation of the personal conduct policy as a repeat offender. Zeke was suspended six games in 2017 for violating the policy.
In this incident, Commissioner Goodell determined no further action was warranted.
Although Elliott was cleared this time around, he’s not out the woods yet. Elliott has a history of getting himself involved in numerous off-the-field situations. As his career goes forward, Elliott has to learn to control himself when he’s not surrounded by 100-feet of gridiron. An athlete’s life away from the sport can have a great effect on how life play out in the sport.
It’s no secret that Elliott is a transcendent young talent. He has proven to be a boxed office player and his overall game on the field has improved year-by-year since his breakout rookie season. During his rookie season, he showed off his strength, speed and ability to make difficult cuts to gain more yards.
During his last two seasons, he’s upgraded to being more patient in waiting for his blocks, recognizing the defensive coverage and making blocks to free up his teammates and catching passes out of the backfield. Elliott led the NFL in total rushing yards (1,434) last season and is projected to be in the top of in the MVP voting for this upcoming season.
The Dallas Cowboys are a team known for harboring players with checkered and questionable pasts, but one thing they’ve been consistently good at is making the most or bringing the best out of those players when they’re available to play. For example, Greg Hardy, Randy Gregory and David Irving were all players who stayed in trouble during or before they came to Dallas, but when they were on the field, they showed flashes and glimpses of how lethal they could be.
We’ve seen how great Elliott has been and judging by his progress, he has the potential to be one of the greatest players in NFL history. However, he can’t be great, he can’t be transcendent, he can’t be productive if he’s not available. Elliott has to take it upon himself to change his acts off the field.
He can’t continue to thrust himself into these testy situations because every situation he gets in will get him closer to being suspended again or worse. The same way he hurdles, jukes and avoids defenders on the field is the same way he’ll have to do against different temptations off the field. If the Dallas Cowboys want to contend for a title they’ll need their workhorse in the backfield and he can’t put in work if he’s not available.
Elliott issued an apology shortly after he was informed he wouldn’t be punished for his incident.
“I’ve worked hard to make better decisions and to live up to the high standards that are expected of me,” Elliott wrote on Twitter. “I failed to do that here and I made a poor decision. I need to work harder to ensure I do not put myself in compromised situations in the future. I am rededicating myself to use all of the resources that the league has made available. But in the end, it is up to me and I am determined not to be in this position again.”
Elliott hopes to rise from this incident, regain the trust of the Cowboys’ organization and work toward getting himself prepared for the 2019 NFL season.
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