Elliott has maintained his innocence in the matter, which Columbus, Ohio, prosecutors declined to pursue because of “conflicting and inconsistent” information. Jones’s comments come as the NFL considers whether to suspend Elliott and he did not discuss whether a suspension might be coming. The league has conducted its own investigation and said it has reached no decision. Under the personal conduct policy, a player can be disciplined even if he is not charged or found guilty by the justice system. ESPN has reported that a brief suspension could be coming.
Elliott, who turned 22 over the weekend, displayed questionable behavior in lesser incidents throughout the offseason. During a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, he pulled down the top of a woman and he reportedly was involved in a July 16 altercation in which a man suffered a facial injury in a Dallas bar. Police have suspended that investigation, however, because they have been unable to find the victims and no witnesses have been available.
Jones said last week that he had spoken with Elliott, reminding him that NFL players — and Cowboys players in particular — can be a target. On Friday, Coach Jason Garrett spoke with him, too.
“I think Zeke’s a smart guy,” Garrett said. “Zeke understands what we’re talking about. Zeke understands what the standards are for our football team. I think he understands what he needs to do to reach those standards on and off the football field. We’ll continue to work with him, just like we will with all our players.”
Elliott and the NFL Players Association have submitted their response to the NFL, which makes the comments by Jones, perhaps the most powerful NFL owner, even more interesting. Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram said Jones “appeared to declare war against the NFL” with his comments. While “war” might be a strong word, the message Jones is sending is pretty clear.
“I found nothing since we were standing here this time last year,” Jones said. “And I knew everything in that report, I knew that this time last year. Those are their concerns because you need to get this stuff behind you.”