The Ezekiel Elliott suspension has taken over the football world.
The NFL handed Elliott a six-game suspension Friday for violating the league’s personal conduct policy after a year-long investigation into domestic violence allegations made against him by a former girlfriend in July 2016.
Elliott is expected to appeal the suspension, but many are voicing their opinions on the ruling, including Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith.
Smith went on The Rich Eisen Show to discuss Elliott, and the former Dallas Cowboys great admitted concern about Elliott’s future.
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“What I’m really concerned about is his future,” Smith said. “This is a tremendous opportunity for a lot of athletes to be able to do something that you absolutely love and get compensated for it and be able to have an impact in another person’s life.
“But this is temporary. We have a shelf life in this sport. This doesn’t last long, so we have to take advantage of every moment and missing six games right now is not affording you the opportunity to take advantage of every moment.
“This is a time to reflect and ask fundamental questions of one’s self. Do I want a real long career in this National Football League, which I can have? Or do I just want to play it year by year and just live for the now? This is about his future.”
Smith said he would gladly help Elliott get back on the right path. He and Elliott don’t have a close relationship yet, but he hypothesized what he would want to tell Elliott in this troubling time.
“What do we do from here? Let’s devise a game plan for the next six to seven, maybe eight weeks,” Smith said. “How can we become accountability partners?”
As far as on the field, Smith believes the reality will set in for Elliott early in the season. Smith missed the first two games of the 1993 season holding out for a new contract, and the Cowboys lost each game.
Smith eventually signed and went on to lead the league in rushing that year and help the Cowboys win the Super Bowl.
“For Zeke, it’s going to be tormenting to watching someone else taking the reps that he should be getting,” Smith said. “It’s going to be tormenting. So I want to be a sounding board for him.
“I want to see him become very, very successful.”