Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Jones softens stance on possible Ezekiel Elliott suspension

Jerry Jones addresses Ezekiel Elliott situation

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones addresses a possible suspension for running back Ezekiel Elliott on Tuesday.
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Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones addresses a possible suspension for running back Ezekiel Elliott on Tuesday.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he has spoken with running back Ezekiel Elliott, but he declined to go into details regarding an incident involving his prized running back at a Dallas bar or reports of a pending suspension.

“I’m not going to get into that,” Jones said about the altercation at Clutch Bar, where reports said Elliott was involved in a fight. “I’m not going into any of his activities over the last week.”

Jones spoke after a publicity event for the Baylor Scott & White Sports Therapy & Research at The Star.

But even more pressing for Jones is the possible suspension of the star running back, stemming from a domestic violence allegation by a former girlfriend in July 2016.

Columbus, Ohio, prosecutors did not think there was enough evidence to bring charges and dropped the case. But Elliott has been under investigation by the NFL for the last year.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported last week that Elliott had received a report from the NFL on its findings and he was preparing a response. Schefter said Elliott was bracing for a possible short suspension.

Jones said he has not spoken to the NFL, but expects to get more details soon.

More telling is that Jones was not as certain as he had been in the past of Elliott escaping any discipline from the NFL.

Several times over the past year, Jones had been emphatic in saying the league had no cause to suspend Elliott.

He walked a softer line on Tuesday.

“I actually don’t know the status, but I surely don’t want to speculate about any decisions from the league or any potential injury or lack of having a player available,” Jones said. “Availability is a key. Ability is a key. But availability is a key, and we really do plan personnel-wise, we plan for a player not being available. That’s just part of our DNA.”

Jones and son Stephen Jones also declined discuss the July Fourth arrest of linebacker Damien Wilson on two counts of aggravated assault after a fireworks show in Frisco.

The elder Jones doesn’t expect these issues to impact the Cowboys when they report to training camp Saturday. He said the team has had distractions before and they understand how to handle them.

“I think the biggest message is not one that has to be stated,” Jones said. “That is, your actions impact an entire team. It impacts an entire fan base. There is a responsibility there to the team. It is a reminder of the interest that is in your actions and behavior. It’s not dissimilar to the message you have when you sit down with a child and a young person and you let them know they represent everybody.”

Regarding Elliott in particular, Jones said he is still learning and adjusting to the spotlight of being an NFL star.

“I know that and I can say firsthand that developing an awareness of where you are with the visibility that is involved today is in and of itself a learning, evolving thing,” Jones said. “People who have been in the public eye for years and years are having to rethink about how they are and how they approach the public eye.”

Clarence Hill: 817-390-7760, @clarencehilljr

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