Ezekiel Elliott has dodged reporters the first few days of camp.
The Dallas Cowboys running back is waiting for the NFL to close its investigation and determine whether he will or will not serve a suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy.
Elliott has begun each of his first two professional training camps with an NFL investigation cloud over his head, but he hasn’t let it affect his approach on the field.
Teammates couldn’t be more impressed with how Elliott is going about his business after leading the league in rushing as a rookie. His off-field issues are pushed to the side whenever he steps on the field.
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“That’s something we always talk about when we always come out here – all your personal problems, you have to leave them at the door,” veteran running back Darren McFadden said. “I feel like he does a great job with that. Once you come out here playing football, you’re playing football and everything else going on off the field, you have to worry about that later.”
Elliott, who turned 22 earlier this month, has been under investigation for more than a year by the NFL. He was accused of domestic abuse in July 2016, an incident that lacked enough evidence for the Columbus (Ohio) city prosecutor’s office to pursue charges.
But Elliott has had missteps since then. That investigation brought to light a text exchange Elliott had in which he feared undergoing a drug test; Elliott then visited a marijuana dispensary during a preseason trip to Seattle; earlier this offseason he exposed a woman’s breast during a St. Patrick’s Day festivity; and days before camp he was involved in a bar altercation in Dallas.
The culmination of those is part of the reason why the NFL has yet to conclude its investigation, although reports indicate the league is in its final stages.
For the time being, though, Elliott is practicing as though there is nothing to worry about.
“He’s great,” McFadden said. “I know a lot of people will look at some of the off-field things, but it’s something for me I don’t pay any attention to it. It’s growing pains for him, man. He’s going to be a great back in this league and he’s going to continue to do it.”
Added veteran Alfred Morris: “We don’t even talk about it. It’s not that it’s not happening or not pending or whatever, it’s just that we have a job to do. You have to leave the off the field off the field.
“When we step on this field, it’s all about our business of honing our craft.”
Lucky Whitehead has a new team.
The New York Jets claimed the former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver on Wednesday. In an ironic twist, the Jets cleared a roster spot by cutting former Cowboy reciever Devin Street.
Whitehead, 25, had a bizarre end to his two-plus years with the Cowboys. A report surfaced Monday that a warrant in Virginia had been issued for Whitehead, who allegedly shoplifted. The Cowboys parted ways with Whitehead shortly after that.
But, by Tuesday morning, the authorities had said they misidentified Whitehead. It was a case of false identity.
Either way, the Cowboys were ready to move on from Whitehead and this situation could be the best scenario for all involved. Whitehead was unlikely to make the 53-man roster with the Cowboys.
He’ll have a chance to do that now with the Jets.
▪ The Cowboys are being deliberate in how they work veterans early on in camp. Jason Witten, Dez Bryant and McFadden were given off days on the offensive side, and Tyrone Crawford, Orlando Scandrick and Sean Lee on the defensive side Wednesday.
▪ The Cowboys worked out receivers Marvin Bracy, an Olympic sprinter, and Corey Washington on Wednesday. They didn’t sign either.