Each Sunday I provide 10 quick hits on the Dallas Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott is in the news for all the wrong reasons. What are the Cowboys getting back in Justin Durant and here’s hoping the security at the Star is better than at Valley Ranch — at least in the Cowboys’ draft room — in this edition of First and 10.
1. Let’s talk about Zeke for a minute. On Friday, Ezekiel Elliott’s former girlfriend filed a police report in Columbus, Ohio, accusing the rookie running back of domestic violence. According to the report, which can be read here, his accuser, Tiffany Thompson, told police she had been assaulted multiple times in the last week. Thompson was not identified in the report but took to social media on Friday and posted photos of bruises on her arms. She tagged Elliott in one of the posts.
Columbus, Ohio, police have already referred the case to the local district attorney’s office and they should certainly investigate any claims of domestic violence to the fullest. But what we have is a lot of conflicting information. Thompson told police she lived with Elliott for three months. Elliott denied that, saying that he only paid rend and co-signed for a vehicle. Thompson said the last assault took place in a parked car early Friday, but Elliott said there was no assault. There were four witnesses, but none of them could corroborate her story, and it’s not clear if any of the witnesses have any connection to either Elliott or Thompson. One of the witnesses was, in fact, sitting in the passenger seat of the car when the alleged incident took place, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Elliott said Thompson got the bruises in a bar fight.
Elliott’s father, Stacy Elliott, released a statement saying his son was innocent of any wrongdoing, that the investigation of the facts would bear that out and that his son is fully cooperating with authorities. (See the statement, and CHQ discussion, here.)
Research on my part did not reveal any incidents of this sort on Elliott’s part at Ohio State.
There should be no rush to judgment here and there should be no rush to paint either Elliott or Thompson a certain way, which, sadly, occurs too often in incidents like this. It takes time for police and district attorneys to collect evidence, review it and provide findings. That’s why the Cowboys hav done nothing except let the media know they’re monitoring the situation. No doubt the NFL -- which has its own power to investigate -- is as well.
If Elliott did something wrong he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent and suspended to the fullest extent (six games for a first offense under the NFL’s new rules). If he didn’t then he should be allowed to play — and Thompson should be allowed to move on with her life, too. But we need to give everyone time to learn the facts.
2. In other Zeke news, he’s been scored an 80 on EA Sports’ new Madden game. That makes him the highest-rated rookie in Madden history.
I can’t really tell you what that means. I’m still struggling with TecmoBowl.
3. Our Mike Fisher took a look at Cowboys training camp battles this week. Now this isn’t your usual camp battles piece of player vs. player. No, Fish looked at different themes that could take place throughout training camp. It’s a real informative piece that is available to premium subscribers. Players mentioned include Sean Lee, Tyron Smith and Dez Bryant. A premium subscription is just $5.99 a month. You can afford that, right? Of course you can. Take a pass on Starbuck’s one day a month and you’re there.
By the way I’m not a coffee fan. I think that’s why I frequently use the coffee analogy.
Fish, of course, will be at Cowboys training camp starting Thursday and for the entire duration of the Oxnard visit, and will travel with the team to every road game chasing info for Cowboys Nation.
4. Justin Durant is back. Remember, right here in this space last week, I wrote that the Cowboys would address linebacker or defensive end at some point before training camp and I was right (to be fair, so were a lot of other people who felt the same way). It’s hard to believe that Durant had only been away from Dallas for a year. During his one season in Atlanta Durant had 82 total tackles, with 57 of them solo, in 13 games with the Falcons. Durant was a salary cap casualty in Atlanta, as the Falcons released him in February so they wouldn’t have to guarantee his $1.75 million base salary for 2016 and be on the hook for the final two years of his contract. Meanwhile, ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure, wrote that, when healthy, Durant had a case as the Falcons’ best linebacker last year
So the Cowboys are getting a solid linebacker coming off a solid season in 2015 who knows their defensive system and their personnel. That’s about as good as you can get with a free-agent signing this time of year. You plug Durant in with Sean Lee and Anthony Hitchens as starters and you feel real comfortable with it until Rolando McClain comes back.
5. CowboysCast takes a look back at those great Cowboys teams of the 1990s. Just a reminder that the CowboysCast from last week is still up at CowboysHQ.com and that Bobby Belt’s conversation with former Cowboys linebacker Darren Smith is worth a listen.
6. The Dallas Cowboys draft board is leaked — again. I guess after the fact it really doesn’t matter. But, seriously — it’s starting to look like the security at my office building is better than the security at Valley Ranch.
The fun part is this — several NFL team sites, including those that cover Detroit and Oakland, wrote stories validating the selections of certain players for those two teams by cross-checking them with the Cowboys’ leaked board. Why? Because it’s July and there’s no football, that’s why.
7. I still love the whole story about Alfred Morris’ $2 “Bentley.” It’s the Mazda 626 Morris has driven around since he bought it from his pastor when he was playing at FAU in Boca Raton, Fla. I guess the joke is that he probably paid more for the Bentley logoed license plate cover than he did for the whole car.
8. It’s our Tweet of the Week:
Generally, Elliott is right about that. But as we discussed earlier, we’re still a ways away from knowing anything for certain.
9. This week’s Great Moments in Headline Porn — “Chace Crawford calls himself a Dallas Cowboys groupie!” from justjared.com
The big news here is that Chace and the family goes to every Dallas Cowboys game to support his brother-in-law, Tony Romo.
Yeah, that’s huge news there. Hard to imagine the whole idea of family supporting family.
Yeah, it’s a slow week. Training camp can’t get here soon enough.
10. Greg Hardy worked out for the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. And just when you thought things were starting to look up in Jacksonville …
And one more thing … RIP Robert Newhouse. I remember watching him run as a kid. The guy had legs like tree trunks and it always seemed to take two or three guys to bring him down. Plus, he was from my hometown of Longview, Texas. Newhouse died of a stroke. He was 64.
Want to talk more Cowboys? Hit the CowboysHQ.com message boards or hit up Postins @PostinsPostcard or Mike Fisher @FishSports on Twitter.