Emmitt Smith worries about the future for Ezekiel Elliott after the league suspended the star running back for six games. Elliott has made several headlines — for the wrong reasons — since he entered the league as the fourth overall pick in 2016.
That includes a St. Patrick’s Day parade in March when Elliott pulled down the shirt of a woman to expose her breast, an incident noted by NFL special counsel for conduct B. Todd Jones in a letter to Elliott informing him of the suspension.
“What I’m really concerned about is his future,” Smith said on the Rich Eisen Show. “This is a tremendous opportunity for a lot of athletes to be able to do something that you absolutely love and get compensated for it and be able to have an impact in another person’s life.
“But this is temporary. We have a shelf life in this sport. This doesn’t last long, so we have to take advantage of every moment and missing six games right now is not affording you the opportunity to take advantage of every moment.
“This is a time to reflect and ask fundamental questions of one’s self. Do I want a real long career in this National Football League, which I can have? Or do I just want to play it year by year and just live for the now? This is about his future.”
Elliott had 20-1 odds to win league MVP honors in June. He led the league in rushing last season, as a rookie, and received six MVP votes. Now he has little chance to accomplish either, although Tom Brady made a run at MVP honors after serving a four-game suspension last season.
“For Zeke, it’s going to be tormenting to watching someone else taking the reps that he should be getting,” said Smith, who missed two games in 1993 in a contract holdout. “It’s going to be tormenting. So I want to be a sounding board for him. I want to see him become very, very successful.”
The league’s all-time leading rusher said he is willing to counsel Elliott if Elliott wants his help.
“What do we do from here?” Smith said he would tell Elliott. “Let’s devise a game plan for the next six to seven, maybe eight weeks. How can we become accountability partners?”