Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin has been watching running back Ezekiel Elliott’s legal battle, and he has a unique take. He seems to think it might be best for Elliott to stop appealing and accept the suspension immediately.
“This NFL this year is really as unpredictable as any,” Irvin said, per the Dallas Morning News. “You know, for me personally right now, where we are at 2-3, if I’m in control of everything [with the Cowboys], I’m almost saying ‘Zeke, let’s pull out right now, let’s take the six games right now. Let’s take them right now and get rid of them and do what we’ve got to do.’ If we can come out of this in some kind of way still in the fight, because look at where the Giants are, Redskins, the Eagles are running, the Eagles are running. You come out of it still in the fight some kind of way in six games, you can try to fight this way through.
“But the one thing I will look at right now with the Dallas Cowboys is that I will not take this into next season. I will not. I want to have Ezekiel Elliott fresh and ready for next season. I want to have a year of these young defensive backs and this defense in a system for a year and I want to try to move forward full steam next year. Now that I’m 2-3, I’m looking at let me just take the six games and get it out of the way.”
The implication seems to be that the Cowboys have already fallen well behind the Eagles, who are now 5-1. Irvin doesn’t appear to think it’s wise for Elliott to fight so hard for his right to play this year, only to get suspended next season – which is exactly what happened to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2015 and 2016.
He’s looking at the big picture and saying it’s more important for Elliott to have the full year next season, giving them a fresh start. The alternative could be a down year in 2017, even with him on the field, and then another down year in 2018 when he’s suspended anyway. At least by taking it now, he’d condense that all into one season and they could start over in 2018.