Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio decided not to pursue domestic abuse charges against Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott, but the former Ohio State standout might not be out of the woods with the NFL.
In court documents obtained by the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Elliott and the woman who made the accusations, ex-girlfriend Tiffany Thompson, exchanged text messages about a drug test Elliott had to take.
Thompson messaged Elliott: “I know you’re stressed out, if you need me call me. Just do everything you can to pass your drug test tomorrow. You’ll be okay. I’m here for you.”
Elliott replied: “I’m gonna pass.” Later, he texted Thompson, “About to live in this sauna the next 24 hours.”
Frank C. Salzano, Elliott’s lead legal adviser, told the Star-Telegram the texts were “a non story.”
“We are happy to move on to football and look forward to playing against the Giants,” Salzano said.
Though he was cleared of any wrongdoing, Elliott has already been in the headlines quite a bit for off-field stories.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was not happy last month when Elliott, the No. 4 pick in the draft this year, visited a marijuana dispensary in Seattle last month before a preseason game, and Elliott admitted after that it was “a bad decision” to go to the shop. Marijuana is legal in Washington, but remains on the banned substances list for NFL players.
But that bad decision, as well as the text messages, could be enough for the NFL to place Elliott in Stage 1 of the league’s substance-abuse program. According to the terms of the substance abuse policy agreed to by the NFL and NFL Players Association, players do not have to fail a drug test to be placed in Stage 1; a jointly-appointed medical director can decide whether participation in the intervention stage will help prevent a player’s future misuse of drugs.
Players in Stage 1 can be drug tested more frequently, and after 90 days (or less), can either be discharged from the program or placed in Stage 2, which can lead to fines and suspensions.
As to the accusation made by Thompson, prosecutors pointed to “conflicting and inconsistent” stories from her as the reason why charges wouldn’t be pursued.