The Columbus, Ohio prosecutor’s office has decided not to pursue domestic abuse charges against Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The city cited “conflicting and inconsistent” stories from the victim, his ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson, as a reason why they wouldn’t pursue charges.
The NFL is still investigating the case, though, and Elliott could find himself with another issue as a fallout from the case.
In court documents obtained by the Star-Telegram, Elliott and his ex-girlfriend, Thompson, had a text exchange about an upcoming NFL “drug test.”
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Thompson texted Elliott: “I know you’re stressed out, if you need me call me. Just do everything you can to pass your drug test tomorrow. You’ll be okay. I’m here for you”
To that, Elliott responded: “I’m gonna pass.”
In a subsequent text, Elliott wrote: “About to live in this sauna the next 24 hours.”
Elliott’s lead legal advisor, Frank C. Salzano, called the text exchange “a non story.”
“We are happy to move on to football and look forward to playing against the Giants,” Salzano said.
Elliott was not available for comment Tuesday as the team was off. They resume practice Wednesday. The Cowboys did not comment on the matter, but it likely won’t sit well with owner Jerry Jones.
Jones wasn’t happy when Elliott visited a marijuana shop in Seattle last month before a preseason game, and Elliott later acknowledged it wasn’t the best idea.
This text exchange, coupled with the Seattle visit, may be enough to put Elliott in the league’s substance-abuse program. Players do not necessarily have to fail a drug test to enter Stage 1 (intervention) of the program.
An NFL spokesman said the decision in a case such as Elliott’s is based upon the opinion of jointly appointed independent medical advisers by the NFL and NFLPA.
“They make the decision if a player should be put into the program,” the NFL spokesman wrote in an email.
Asked if he was worried about Elliott being put in the program, Salzano said: “I can’t control what they do.”
According to the league’s policy on substances of abuse, which was agreed upon with the NFLPA, players are subject to enter the program based on “behavior.”
The policy states: “Behavior (including but not limited to an arrest or conduct related to an alleged misuse of Substances of Abuse occurring up to two (2) football seasons prior to the Player’s applicable scouting combine) which, in the judgment of the Medical Director, exhibits physical, behavioral, or psychological signs or symptoms of misuse of Substances of Abuse.”
The other two ways to get into the program are by a failed drug test or self-referral.
Clarence E. Hill Jr. contributed to this report.