The Dallas Cowboys are not monitoring running back Ezekiel Elliott any closer this off-season than they did in the past.
They believe that he has learned from the experiences of the past year, which included a six-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy for allegedly committing domestic violence against former girlfriend Tiffany Thompson.
Elliott was not charged or arrested in the case.
But owner Jerry Jones said Elliott received more punishment than anyone he's ever seen for what he was accused of and that the ordeal, which included battles with the NFL in federal court, a smeared reputation and the loss of endorsements, should be a wake-up call and constant reminder.
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"He's paid as high a price from the level of ... he's paid the most level of punishment that I've seen for what he did," Jones said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "That would make any of us cognizant of the fact that you have serious accountability for any situation that you get into. The more meaningful, and it's costly, and it's certainly cost him. He is smart. We should have every reason to believe that that will be a constant reminder when you're making decisions. I think that's the case."
Vice president Stephen Jones had a similar answer when asked if the Cowboys were paying closer attention to Elliott this off-season, considering his importance to the team. The Cowboys finished 9-7 in 2017, but were 3-3 without Elliott for six games, proving to be the difference in their season.
Stephen Jones said Elliott can have an amazing career and possibly end up in the Hall of Fame like former Cowboys receiver Michael Irvin, who is an example of a player who learned from his off-field mistakes.
“I think he’s doing well," Stephen Jones said. "I wouldn’t say we monitor him any closer. You can only do so much. These are grown men. I have a lot of confidence that Zeke has learned a lot. Hopefully, he has. Because if he has and he changes his behavior and he's able to stay on the field, we all know he can be one of the greatest to ever play the game, if he takes care of himself and takes care of his business off the field.
"I think Zeke wants that. He’s a competitor. I think he wants to be one of the best. He certainly knows that he’s got to take care of business too. We’ve had great players that have had to do better before. Michael [Irvin] will tell you that he had to learn valuable lessons. But he turned out to be a Hall of Famer. I think if Zeke will pay attention and do the right things off the field and be responsible then he can certainly have an amazing career.”