Ezekiel Elliott: I’m proud of these guys, we fought all season
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has not talked to the media since being detained and handcuffed following an incident with a security guard at a concert in Las Vegas last month.
He was not arrested and no charges are expected to be filed, though the NFL is investigating the situation under the personal conduct policy.
The Cowboys don’t expect anything to come of it, especially considering Elliott’s growth, maturity, and trouble-free life since a six-game suspension in 2017 for violating the personal conduct policy and his strong off-season that has included visiting a local firehouse, comforting a child hit by a puck at a hockey game and paying for a funeral of a slain youth football star in St. Louis.
But they have talked to Elliott about the situation and everyone is ready to move on from it, according to running backs coach Gary Brown.
“It’s a situation you don’t want to be in, but we all make mistakes,” Brown said. “Even the greatest leaders make mistakes. We have to be understanding of that. We have talked to him about doing better and moving forward. We can’t beat him down for that. Obviously, we don’t want him in that situation. We talked to him and move on. He understands, ‘I can’t put myself in that position. I have got to be smarter.’ We all make mistakes.”
The situation hasn’t stopped Elliott from having a strong presence at Cowboys OTA practices with his play and leadership.
“He has been a great leader, great with the young guys,” Brown said. “He is an awesome dude, a big-brother type with the young guys.”
It was Elliott who ran 40 yards down the field during a recent OTA to congratulate rookie fourth-round pick Tony Pollard following a long touchdown run. Pollard said Elliott has been welcoming on and off the field, even hosting cookouts at his house.
“He’s done a great job with all the running backs, just getting us together, having us over to his house for cookouts, and just bonding,” Pollard said. “In here he’s been helping us with little pointers and things we can sharpen up and get our game better with.”
Pollard was drafted to help lighten Elliott’s load as a change of pace back who can also do some every-down stuff, along with rookie seventh-round pick Mike Weber.
Elliott doesn’t think he needs any fewer touches but Brown said the Cowboys plan to be smart with him.
The two-time rushing champion had 381 touches last season. His 304 carries were 43 more than any other NFL player. He also caught a career-high 77 passes, fifth-most among running backs.
“He doesn’t need to do anything less,” Brown said. “Any athlete of his caliber doesn’t want to lighten his load. We have to be responsible coaches and understand that we have to take care of him and have guys behind him to make make sure he is fresh come December and January.”
Brown said the Cowboys don’t have a hard number on touches for Elliott. And in key situations he is going to be on the field.
“You would like to be in a range but you can’t put a number on it,” Brown said. “We have to do a good job trying to control his touches. The game is going to dictate what is going to happen.”