Emmitt Smith knows what it’s like to be the starting running back for the Dallas Cowboys. He knows what it’s like to be one of the best players in the NFL.
That’s why he wants to help Ezekiel Elliott, who is a transcendent talent on the field but seems to exercise poor judgment off of it.
Smith’s advice to Elliott? Don’t take this ride for granted.
“Well, the only thing I can honestly say is some people don’t believe or don’t realize their future or their opportunity to be transformative – not only for themselves, but also for their own family members,” Smith said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “They don’t believe that that opportunity truly exists until it’s gone. They don’t want to really go all-in until it’s gone. They really want to enjoy the moment and enjoy the ride, but they’re missing the lessons of life by not paying attention to some of the details and some of the important ingredients that make great players become greater players and household-name players stay household-name players for a long time.
“With Zeke, I just hope that he learns his lesson right now during this time so he doesn’t repeat the same mistakes and we don’t talk about demons hanging around and floating around,” Smith continued. “Sometimes it takes something like this to get someone’s attention. Hopefully this is one of those things that maybe gets his attention.”
For Brandon Tierney, though, Elliott, who is in the midst of a legal battle with the NFL, seems arrogant and thinks he’s above authority. Is that unfair?
“I think that’s a little unfair,” Smith said. “I really do. Ezekiel Elliott, from my experience whenever I’m around him, seems to be very humble, very much introverted in terms of not really sure who to trust. I think we all kind of go through this – trying to feel out who do you really trust, and can you be who you are around certain people without being judged? Granted, he’s still young, and he definitely has more maturing to do. I think he can get to that point. Hopefully he gets there much sooner than later.
“But I don’t think he thinks he’s above the law,” Smith continued. “I just think he’s going to push the envelope up to the law, if he can, and see if he can get away with it. Right now, he’s starting to recognize that he cannot get away with it because so many eyes are on him. The things that you thought you could get away with, you can no longer get away with.”
Smith also weighed in on Jerry Jones, who, weeks after kneeling with players in a show of solidarity, said that any player who “disrespects” the flag won’t play. Jones, Smith said, often says or does things to take attention and focus away from his players, but this may have backfired, mainly because Cowboys players have had to answer questions about Jones’ ultimatum.
“To me, it’s baffling,” Smith said. “I’m still trying to figure this out. I don’t know what to make of it. I still believe players – as long as they’re paying taxes, as long as they have the right to vote – they have every right to protest peacefully. Period. Just like any other human being does.”