Posted on September 21, 2017, by Bryan Zarpentine
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott admitted to reporters Thursday that he did not give full effort during Sunday’s Week 2 loss to the Denver Broncos. During the Cowboys’ 42-17 loss to the Broncos, Elliott could be seen making no effort to chase down Broncos defenders following a pair of interceptions. On Thursday, Elliott acknowledged the wide-spread criticism, specifically from LaDainian Tomlinson of the NFL Network, and wanted to own up to it.
“I definitely heard it. I guess you could say it looked like that,” Elliott told reporters. “I would say I was just very frustrated, but that’s no excuse for the lack of effort I showed on tape. And I just can’t do that. Being one of the leaders on the team and being a guy that people count on, I can’t put that type of stuff on film.”
At one point, Elliott could be seen standing stagnant with his hands on his hips following an interception by Denver’s Chris Harris. Later in the game, the second-year running back failed to get off the ground and chase down Aqib Talib, who returned an interception 103 yards for a touchdown in the 4th quarter.
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Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett addressed effort with Elliott and several other Dallas players during a team meeting Wednesday. Garrett now believes the matter is behind them and the Cowboys can now move forward.
“Zeke’s a professional. Zeke knows how to play football at this level. He’s demonstrated that over the course of his career,” Garrett said Thursday. “He’s not perfect. Nobody is perfect. When things happen, we address them. We coach them, and then we move forward.”
Sunday’s game against the Broncos was easily the most frustrating for Elliott in his young career. Elliott was bottled up by Denver’s defense all game, gaining just eight yards on nine carries. He added four catches for 14 yards but was a non-factor in what was a one-sided game. Of course, that doesn’t excuse Elliott’s lack of effort, something he says does not fit the reputation he’s had since college.
“It’s definitely not me,” Elliott explained. “It’s definitely not the type of player I am. It’s definitely not who I am for this team. I just can’t do that. I was frustrated and I wasn’t myself.”
In the aftermath of the mini-firestorm, Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott came to the defense of his backfield partner.
“I know who he is. I know the type of football player he is, and the type of guy he is,” Prescott said. “I’ve never, and never will, question his competitiveness or his lack of effort or whatever you want to say. I’ll never question that. I know he’s going to be there for me, for his teammates, for this organization, so I don’t pay attention to what other people say.”
Despite the support from teammates, the last thing Elliott needed was more controversy. He’s still facing the possibility of a six-game suspension issued by the NFL for domestic abuse. Elliott continues to play while the validity of his suspension is determined by the courts. Having to stand in front of reporters and explain his lack of effort is just one more distraction for Elliott and the Cowboys, piling onto the team’s problems following last week’s humiliating loss to the Broncos.