If Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott’s father is worried about his son off-the-field, should you be?
When the Dallas Cowboys selected Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott fourth overall in April’s NFL Draft, the Cowboys believed they were getting a special player who could change the tide following their 4-12 season in 2015. Behind Dallas’ dominate offensive line, Elliott was named the favorite for the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year by many.
Going into the draft, Elliott’s biggest character concerns surrounded a moment of immaturity following a loss to Michigan State last November when he publicly criticized the play-calling by his Ohio State coaches. The 21-year old has also been cited for three misdemeanors, one of which included Zeke driving with a suspended license last December.
More eyebrows were raised when Elliott’s Buckeye teammate, defensive end Joey Bosa, allegedly told NFL teams that he had too move out of their shared apartment to get away from the partying lifestyle. According to ESPN, the Cowboys allegedly knew Zeke liked to hit the nightclubs hard when they drafted him.
Regardless of those potential issues, Elliott’s on-the-field production never faltered. The junior running back rushed for 1,821 yards and scored 23 touchdowns in 13 games for Ohio State last season. Elliott nearly had identical numbers for the Buckeyes the year before.
Those character concerns did nothing to drop the talented young runner’s draft stock, who many considered to be the top offensive talent in the 2016 NFL Draft outside of Ole Miss offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
But Elliott’s immaturity reared it’s ugly head again this preseason when he visited a marijuana dispensary in Seattle just hours prior to a game against the Seahawks. This, while Zeke was being investigated for an alleged domestic violence incident that he was eventually cleared of earlier this month.
It’s a string of immaturity and bad decisions that a source told ESPN reporter Ed Werder has become a real concern.
Werder’s source isn’t the only one who is worried by Elliott’s behavior. Zeke’s own father has publicly expressed his concerns about his son’s ability to handle the spotlight as the Cowboys’ newest superstar.
"“My biggest worry is … I don’t believe my son knows how to navigate in life being a superstar,” Elliott’s father, Stacy, told ESPN.com. “He’s like a little boy who wants to play football and have fun and enjoy people. We’ve always said this about Ezekiel, ever since he came into the world. He’s just happy to be alive. He’s a happy guy. But this world is not.”"
Elliott hasn’t exactly set the NFL world on fire in his first two NFL games. Rushing for a total 134 yards and two scores averaging 3.3 per carry, Zeke also had two critical fumbles last week against the Washington Redskins.
Currently ranked eighth in the league in rushing, Elliott will get plenty of opportunities to prove he was worthy of the fourth overall selection. Just as long as he doesn’t do anything off-the-field to jeopardize his status with the team.