FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said he has spoken with Ezekiel Elliott since the running back’s involvement in an incident at a bar Sunday, but he declined to go into the specifics of their conversation.
Dallas Police are investigating an assault that left a man with a nose injury, but nobody was arrested and Elliott was not listed as a suspect on the initial police report. Jones said he has some detail on what transpired but has “more to get.”
Jones said he has not spoken with the NFL about the recent incident. He also did not know the status of the league’s investigation into a domestic violence incident involving Elliott in Columbus, Ohio, last July that could lead to a potential suspension.
Last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Elliott’s camp is bracing for a short suspension. During last season and earlier this offseason, Jones expressed confidence that Elliott would not be penalized by the league, but he struck a different tone Tuesday.
“I 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.”
Elliott said in June the spotlight in Dallas is brighter than he imagined or experienced at Ohio State. Jones said Elliott, whom Jones likened to a “rock star,” with his personality, is learning to adjust to a different public landscape.
“Our franchise has always been front and center and actually was before I became involved,” Jones said. “Our players know when they come in, we articulate and really try to inform our players of the interest and the amount of exposure, the amount of transparency there is in their lives. And like all of us we do good some days and don’t do good the others. That’s not to be confused with the tolerating of bad behavior or illegal behavior. That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s just learning that your every move will be scrutinized.”
The Cowboys have had several off-field issues this offseason. Defensive end David Irving was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. Cornerback Nolan Carroll was arrested on a DWI charge in May. Linebacker Damien Wilson was arrested on an assault with a deadly weapon charge. Carroll and Wilson could face league discipline. With ongoing investigations into both, the Cowboys had no comment on those cases.
Jones was asked what his message would be to players who have had these issues.
“I think the biggest message is not one that has to be stated, and that is your actions impact an entire team, it impacts an entire fan base,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of responsibility there. Then I think to the team it’s a reminder of the interest that’s in your actions and your behavior, and it’s not dissimilar from the message that you have when you sit down with a child and a young person when you’re talking about how they represent everybody. The message is really pretty simple, and it’s one that you would naturally see: Try to think about your activities when you’re involved in them.”