Sportress of Blogitude

Cowboys notice ‘more serious-minded’ Ezekiel Elliott at camp

Ezekiel Elliott appears more focused and committed at the onset of training camp compared to last year when the Dallas Cowboys running back was embroiled in a suspension battle.

The Cowboys have noticed a renewed commitment out of Elliott, who is free from the drama that plagued him heading into the 2017 NFL season, not to mention well into it as well.

“I just think he’s a lot more serious-minded,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said, via SportsDay. “I actually think that he’s learned a lot from his experience. I think it was difficult, and I think he went through some really difficult times. I think he stood for what he believed in last year, and certainly you’re naive to think there wasn’t distractions in his mind from what he was going through, week to week.

“I think he wants to be one of the great ones to play the game. I think he’s a hard-working guy who knows what it takes, and I think it’s a process. I think he continues to mature. … I expect him to really step up, I think, and have a really great year this year.”

Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown sees a completely different Elliott than the one who was “stressed out” last season.

“He looks real fresh,” Brown said. “He’s getting his feet underneath him. He looks good. He’s in great shape. Mentally, he’s in the right place.

“He’s leaner. His body fat is down. His weight is down. He’s ready to go.”

Following a protracted legal process, Elliott ultimately served a six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy beginning on Nov. 5. He would return on Dec. 24 and play in the Cowboys’ final two games.

The Cowboys have made it clear the team expects Elliott to avoid off-the-field issues in 2018, allowing him to better focus on a becoming a team leader, a new role he readily accepts.

So far, so good, it would appear.