From domestic-violence accusations to assault allegations to traffic violations, Ezekiel Elliott has had a checkered NFL career. In fact, one must wonder if he’s putting his career in jeopardy with his off-field shenanigans.
“It takes generally a few incidents for things to happen,” CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “Le’Veon Bell has been in the league four or five years now. He’s had couple of miscues, and he’s still just had a team willing to put $60 million in front of him. I’m astonished the Steelers went that high, but they did, in fact, go that high. In terms of true guarantee, it’s more like $20-25 (million), but as long as he stays out of trouble, he’d be making $12 million a year for the next five years at a time when the next highest-paid running back in the league makes eight.
“So I’m not going to say (Elliott is) putting his career in jeopardy yet,” La Canfora continued, “but once you get into the league’s sort of disciplinary arm, whether that be through substance bause or through PEDs or through violating the personal-conduct policy, then things tend to expedite quickly. Once you’ve been disciplined once, if you continue to engage in those activities, we’ve seen, they ramp it up pretty quickly.”
It doesn’t help that Elliott is a Cowboy.
“He’s got Jerry Jones willing to basically enable or support things to a degree that maybe some others wouldn’t,” La Canfora said. “It’s kind of like the go-go ’90s there again. ‘Hey, boys will be boys, and stuff will happen on Sunday night through Saturday night, but as long as we get three hours of quality football out of them and we’re contending for Super Bowls, we can all look the other way because let’s just enjoy the party.’ That atmosphere is probably not conducive to Ezekiel Elliott. If that truly is the culture, then yeah, it can become a slippery slope. Certainly he’s going to have to curtail and sort of rein in what he does for fun and what going out means to him and what a social life means to him. Because the places and the people and the frequency with which he’d meddling with these people is going to lead to more trouble.”
The Cowboys have been no stranger to player misconduct in recent years. From Dez Bryant to Greg Hardy, several Cowboys have been in trouble with the team, the league, or the law.
Does Dallas have a culture issue?
“Nothing happens in a vacuum,” La Canfora said. “This is not a new phenomenon that Jerry is a little different owner and a little different guy. Yeah, they’re certainly, I believe, one of the teams that are more willing to look the other way or take a chance or just kind of be, ‘Just win, baby’ than some others. Now don’t get me wrong: it’s not endemic to them, but they’ve become a younger team. They’ve got obviously some key players. Dak had an amazing rookie season but the reason they were able to get him where they got him is he had some issues in college that dropped him down some boards – and quarterbacks are held to a different standard. We know that Dez has had his issues. So, no, it’s not just the Cowboys, but I think Jerry – when he falls in love with these guys and he feels like these are the guys that are going to get (him) over the top – I think he can’t help himself. It’s anything goes.”