Ezekiel Elliott is confident he’ll have more days like Sunday for the Dallas Cowboys in the immediate future.
Or at least have the ability to replicate his season-high 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a 33-19 victory over the Washington Redskins on a rainy afternoon at FedEx Field.
Instead of flying back to Texas with his teammates, Elliott is headed to New York to attend his next court date in his ongoing battle with the NFL over a six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, stemming from domestic violence accusations in July 2016.
Elliott and his representatives will argue their case for a preliminary injunction in the Southern District of New York at 4 p.m. Monday.
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“We’re confident. We’re confident in our argument,” Elliott said. “We’re confident that I’ll be on the field for the rest of the year.”
As far as his emotions on the eve of his court date, Elliott said: “It’s really out of my hands. There’s nothing really more I can control. Just trust my legal team, trust that they’re going to do their job and make sure I’m on the field next week.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is hoping for a similar outcome, too, and continued to state his belief that Elliott has been treated unfairly by the league. Jones pointed to the Columbus, Ohio, city prosecutor’s office declining to pursue charges after finding the ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, giving inconsistent information about the events.
“We have a pretty good system in place in this country, it’s called the legal system,” Jones said. “It has a lot of precedent. It’s made a lot of mistakes, but it’s the best one in the world, in my view. For us [as a league] to not basically recognize that, that’s a concern.
“What is important is that he gets a fair shake. Zeke has in no way by any standard in this country done anything wrong. He’s done nothing wrong. We, the league, [have] tried to say that he’s done something that we disagree with (domestic violence). We all don’t agree with that. I want him to get a fair shot. He deserves that.”
Throughout the process, Elliott has had the support of ownership and teammates. All of them would like to see Elliott clear his name after the NFL labeled him a woman beater who struck his ex-girlfriend three times.
“It will be beneficial to say whether we have him or not,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “Hopefully, we’ll get it all out of the way, but it’s out of my control and out of his control for the most part.”
Added team captain and defensive end Tyrone Crawford: “We’ve talked about it before in the past and we’ve got his back 100 percent. We’re just hoping for the best for him. We’re hoping that they can see the same guy that we see and get to finally come up with the truth and clear his name.”
On the field, meanwhile, Elliott has shown no signs of this drawn-out legal fight having much effect. He has posted three consecutive 100-yard rushing games, including rushing for 147 yards last week at San Francisco and 150 yards on Sunday in the nation’s capital.
Elliott got off to a shaky start by fumbling his opening handoff, but the second-year back proved to be the best weapon for the Cowboys the rest of the day.
On the offense’s drive following his fumble, Elliott capped a 75-yard TD drive with a 13-yard misdirection run in which he went untouched into the end zone.
Elliott finished business with a 1-yard touchdown plunge after the Cowboys blocked a field goal and cornerback Orlando Scandrick returned it inside the 5 late in the first half.
In the second half, Elliott had a 26-yard TD run nullified by a holding penalty on left tackle Tyron Smith.
Elliott smiled about the run called back that negated what would have been his first career game with three rushing touchdowns.
“That was a little iffy,” Elliott said of the penalty. “They might have robbed us right there, but we’ve just got to clean stuff up. Teams are going to know we’re going to run the ball, so we have to be ready for that and just keep executing.”
Yes, the Cowboys fooled nobody by giving Elliott a career-high 33 carries. Everybody knew the ball would go to No. 21 considering the conditions.
Elliott did his job. Now it’s a question of whether he’ll have the chance to do it moving forward.
“Obviously [Elliott] was outstanding today, and he had to be,” coach Jason Garrett said. “The conditions were challenging throughout. We’re at our best when we run the football, and we really needed to run it and run it a lot and run it well in this game, particularly in the second half when the weather got even worse.
“I thought he did a really good job. Obviously the fumble in the first play was not good for him or for us … but then he carried it 32 more times.”