Not surprisingly, Cowboys tight end Jason Witten‘s teammates voted him one of six captains for this season. As one of the most veteran players on the team, Witten sees one of his leadership roles as making sure the Ezekiel Elliott situation doesn’t become a distraction.
Of course, Witten has seen his share of potential distractions in 15 years of playing for the Cowboys. That fact reassures him that Elliott’s battle with the NFL over the running back’s six-game suspension won’t matter to the team on the field.
Witten also applauded Elliott for keeping his focus on his work during the 15 months the second-year player has sought to clear his name.
“Our football team has done a good job of addressing it and talking it through,” Witten said. “I think Zeke’s done a good job of respecting and understanding that process that he’s going through. It’s hard. It’s hard for any of us to have stuff going on outside of football, maybe more so even at a young age to have a lot of those things going on and then kind of be able to kind of box it up and come to work. This is a tough game. He’s got a lot of talent. You saw how he played. He’s a guy that we’re better when he’s out on the football field. I really have respected the way he’s gone about it when he’s come to work. He’s in meetings and the next thing I know, he’s in a courtroom. I think as a veteran player, when the young player has that approach and does those things, it makes it easier for all of us to kind of move forward.
“This team’s been through a lot. As it is, it always seems like there’s something going on. You look at last year with the quarterback situation, and I truly believe we became closer through those processes and those experiences. [We’ll] continue to work through it with Zeke. A lot of moving parts there. I know it’s not easy. He does a good job. He’s got a lot of resources around him that are going to help and see that he can get through it and play his best football. That happens. It happens in your life as well, that you have things going on that you’ve got to be able to kind of box it up and go handle it. I think he’s done a good job of that.”