Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott acknowledged his rookie season didn’t get off to the easiest start. An ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence just before his first professional training camp in July, and that cloud lingered over his head for months.
The Columbus, Ohio prosecutor’s office investigated the incident and decided Elliott should not face legal charges in October, and the Cowboys stood behind Elliott the entire way.
But it’s an issue that the NFL has yet to put to bed and something that seemingly won’t go away. An NFL spokesman said Thursday that the incident still “remains under review of the personal conduct policy.”
Through it all, though, Elliott has kept his focus on the football field and put together one of the best seasons by a rookie running back in history. He won the NFL’s rushing title with 1,631 yards and scored 15 touchdowns on the ground.
“I think what I learned about myself was just, I’m kind of, in my ability to kind of block out outside noise and still be able to go out there and compete, go out there and excel in this game,” Elliott said. “I’ve been through a lot of [stuff] this offseason, still going through a lot of stuff, so my ability to block that out and ball.”
Asked how difficult it was to block out the domestic violence allegation during training camp and into the early part of the season, Elliott said: “It was hard, but you’ve just got to be optimistic, you know what I mean? It’s not really in my hands anymore. Just focus on what I can do now and focus on helping this team, because that’s what’s more important to me.”