While many have assumed the NFL’s investigation of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will lead to an inevitable suspension, team Executive Vice President Stephen Jones is far more optimistic.
Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the franchise has grown weary of the probe and wants the league to do better.
“These things are tough for everybody. It’s tough for the league. It’s tough for the team. It’s tough for the player,” Jones said. “I think, at some point, you should be able to get the information in some sort of time frame that it doesn’t carry on like this particular investigation has. So I would hope as a league, just like we do everything else, that we look for ways to get more efficient and to do things in a better way. I’m not being critical.
“These things, we’re obviously in new territory when we started our own investigative team at the NFL level. It’s not like we’ve been doing this like we’ve been playing games and things of that nature, so just as we do everything we look at ways to improve it. Hopefully we’ll be better at this as we move forward in the future.”
Jones mirrored earlier comments made by his father, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who also expects Elliott to avoid a suspension.
“I do not anticipate a suspension,” Jones said last week during a news conference scheduled to discuss his inclusion in the Hall of Fame.
Pro Football Hall of Famer and FS1 analyst Cris Carter, however, believes a suspension is inevitable.
During an appearance on FS1’s Undisputed on Monday, Carter said that he would be “shocked” if Elliott wasn’t suspended within 48 hours of the show’s initial broadcast and predicts that “information will come out.”
“Contrary to what Jerry is hearing, I’ve heard that we shouldn’t be surprised, especially after you’ve played this extra preseason game, now people will try to say because Jerry was being inducted into the Hall, well maybe the league didn’t want a suspension or a ruling to come out during the Hall of Fame week,” Carter said. “That really has nothing to do with it. If you look at the starting DB for the Atlanta Falcons, Jalen Collins, he just got suspended. This is really kind of when the league starts.
“That fifth preseason game for Hall of Fame week, but this is really the four weeks, now for me in the next 48 hours, I would be shocked if Zeke was not suspended because based on the information that’s going to come out it’s going to be fairly easy to determine that something happened with this woman in her four days with Zeke. I mean, this is purely assault or domestic violence.”
A woman claiming to be Elliott’s ex-girlfriend filed a police report in Columbus, Ohio on July 22,2016 — which is exactly one year prior to when the Cowboys begin training camp on Saturday — alleging the running back assaulted her over a span of several days, which launched the league’s investigation.
Elliott was never arrested and the local authorities declined to file charges, claiming that there was conflicting and inconsistent information involved with the incident.
Elliott complied with NFL investigators during his rookie season and expressed his frustration in the league’s continued probing, a feeling also expressed by his attorney and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.
However, the league also looked into an incident that took place in February 2016 in Florida, where Elliott was training for the 2016 NFL Draft, in which a woman alleged the running back pushed her up against a wall.
Last month, the Cowboys signed veteran running back Ronnie Hillman on Thursday, which may reveal that the team has concerns about the NFL’s decision on star running back Ezekiel Elliott, according to Adam Schefter.
According to NFL.com, the Players Association recently filed to the league a response that the union, Elliott and his representatives hope will answer any remaining questions about his alleged involvement into the year-long investigation.