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Jason Garrett to Ezekiel Elliott: You could be like LeBron James

The coach has been talking to his star running back, but has the player been listening?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

As the issues of Ezekiel Elliott’s off-the-field behavior have compounded, many have wondered if the Cowboys front office has tried to talk to Zeke, to get him to understand what the problems could cost him. They have. Jerry Jones has stated he has spoken to Zeke, although he wouldn’t go into details of the conversation. Now, we know that Jason Garrett has also spoken to Zeke, and he took an angle that might appeal to many modern-day athletes.

Peter King used his MMQB column to outline some of the conversations he has had with Jason Garrett at training camp. Much of the column details the origin behind the Cowboys slogan for this season - Recommit … Every Day. Turns out the story and the idea for that slogan come from the Boss. No, not Jerry Jones, but Bruce Springsteen. It’s interesting, and you should probably check it out, but basically early in Springsteen’s career, he had a setback and learned that just because you’ve reached a certain level of success, you have to keep working hard everyday to reach the next level.

But towards the end of the part about the Cowboys, King turns to Ezekiel Elliott and the possibility of his maturation off the field and avoiding suspensions. Jason Garrett has spoken to Elliott, and while we don’t know if he took the traditional approach of discussing Elliott hurting his on-field career or hurting his team, we do know he discussed Elliott’s pocketbook. In essence, he’s hurting his earning power off the field.

“I’ve had a number of talks with him,” Garrett said. “I’ve asked him, ‘What do you want to be?’ I’ve had him try to understand the potential paths he could go down, the opportunities he has, on and off the field. They’re off the charts. He’s an infectious, very likable, hard-working kid. My point to him is, ‘If you maximize your abilities, you might be able to make $200 million off the field, like LeBron. Or you could make a million.’ I mean, say you’re AT&T, or you’re Pepsi. You’re looking for a spokesman for your product. What would you do right now? You’d probably say if you’re one of those companies, ‘Oh, we’ll go with Dak. Or we’ll go with Jordan Spieth.’ But that’s in his control.”

We shouldn’t assume that Garrett also did not speak to on-the-field issues, like hurting his teammates. He probably did but this might not be the interesting part of the conversation, so King didn’t print it. Or Garrett might not have relayed it to King. So I wouldn’t make an assumption that that wasn’t discussed.

It is interesting that Garrett spoke to something that we all like — money. Certainly Elliott has to realize that companies are not going to invest in him if they are unsure they can trust him. Dak Prescott is already picking up the endorsements, and if he has another great year, those endorsements will grow. Who knows, maybe that is something that will make Elliott realize what he’s going to miss out on if he can’t keep his name out of negative headlines. The guy has the skills along with the personality to make a fortune. And if that helps motivate him to stay on the field and away from suspensions, all the better for the Cowboys.

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