FRSICO, Texas – Ezekiel Elliott learned plenty of lessons on the field last week in Seattle. But he said he learned another about life off the field, as well.
It's been four days since cell phone videos surfaced of Elliott visiting a marijuana dispensary in Seattle before the game against the Seahawks. Marijuana is legal in the state of Washington, but is against NFL rules. To say the video generated some discussion would be an understatement.
Elliott said Monday that he only visited the shop out of curiosity, but he recognizes now it was a mistake.
"It was a bad decision," he said. "I seen it walking around, was curious – didn't really think about it before I went in, what the repercussions could have been."
As Elliott himself pointed out, it's not as though he was trying to hide any underhanded activity. The video shows him taking pictures with fans and talking to people.
"I mean, it wasn't like I was trying to hide or anything," he said. "I took pictures with people – it wasn't like I was up to no good. I was just curious, I didn't think I was doing anything wrong, wasn't breaking any laws or anything."
But, as Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said on Saturday, it's not a particularly good look for Elliott or the team – which is losing three players to suspension at the start of the season for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
"He and I talked about that. It was just a poor decision on his part," Garrett said. "Young players often times have to understand that perception can be reality. And you have to understand that you are under a microscope 24 hours a day. And there is no good reason for him to go into a place like that."
Elliott faced scrutiny as one of the faces of Ohio State's program, but the NFL – and the Dallas Cowboys in particular – are a slightly higher level.
"It's definitely a learning experience about the scrutiny," Elliott said. "You've just got to be careful and not give anyone a chance to say anything."
Garrett will undoubtedly be happy to hear that.
"He recognized his mistake," he said. "It's something he will learn from."