A couple former Dallas Cowboys legends have some advice for Ezekiel Elliott in the wake of the news that the star running back has been suspended six games for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Michael Irvin, a Hall-of-Famer who battled his share of off-field issues during his 12-year career with Dallas, told WFAA he’s talked to Elliott about staying out of trouble.
“I try to tell him, ‘You don’t even want to get started down the road,’” Irvin said. “It just attracts more stuff toward you.”
The NFL’s leading rusher and beloved Cowboy Emmitt Smith said the team has a problem on its hands.
“This is not good for the Cowboys, not good for him, not good for the community and his family and so forth,” he said.
Before Elliott, Smith was the last person to lead the league in rushing yards and miss the start of the following season in 1993. That, of course, was due to injury and not off-field transgressions.
Smith said Elliott’s suspension should send him and other players with checkered off-the-field track records a strong message.
“This should serve as a wake up call not just for him but others as well,” Smith said. “Let this be a warning because you are being suspended for a reason. It's not just because someone wants to spank you, there is a reason why.
Both Smith and Irvin said Elliott, who is just 22 years old, needs to change his course of action and think about his future.
“It’s time for him to really start thinking about the suspension but also what he wants to do when he gets done,” Smith said. “How he wants to make the corrections and where he wants to go.”
”I always say, ‘Make sure as you get greater and greater in your athletic ability that you are working on your maturation to match. If not you are going to run into a situation,’” Irvin said.
Irvin said the NFL should have dealt with the issue of domestic violence a long time ago and says it is time to focus on it.
“It’s such a sensitive, delicate situation. It really is,” he said. “It is such a sensitive issue that we are still learning about and still exploring it and find the best way to handle it.”
Both Irvin and Smith say they are only a phone call away and want to help Elliott.
The add the NFL also has programs to help players but say the player has to want to change.
“It’s like anything else,” Irvin said. “You can put certain things on the plate and say, ‘Here,’ and hand it to the kids but they are going to eat some of the things they like but not eat other things.”
Zeke Elliott has a second chance -- the question is, will he heed the warning?
© 2017 WFAA-TV