Zeke, ‘Kwon Hit Hard Times
This hasn’t been the best week for Buckeyes in the NFL. While several former Ohio State players are fighting for spots on rosters and roles at the professional level, two recent OSU stars of NFL prominence have hit major road blocks.
First, linebacker Raekwon McMillan was lost for the entire 2017 season and won’t be able to debut with the Miami Dolphins as planned. He was injured in the preseason opener against Atlanta on Thursday, a bitter blow for both McMillian and Miami, which figured to line him up in the middle of the defense.
A day later, last season’s Offensive Rookie of the Year, Ezekiel Elliott was hit with a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy.
The NFL’s investigation took more than a year to complete and centered on two incidents that “showed a pattern of poor judgment and behavior” according to the letter the league sent Elliott.
The key piece behind Ohio State’s 2014 national championship run, Elliott has been a godsend on the field for the Cowboys but continues to make bad headlines off it.
The star running was accused of five incidents of domestic violence over a six-day period in July of 2016 by a woman claiming to be his ex-girlfriend. Elliott denied these accusations and no charges were brought against the Dallas Cowboys running back due to a lack of evidence.
In March, Elliott didn’t have a particularly good St. Patrick’s Day – or too good of one, depending upon your point of view. He became part of a viral video for tugging at the shirt of a woman partying near him, exposing her breasts. Shortly after, he was pulled over for driving 100 mph in a 70 mph zone shortly thereafter.
This summer, Elliott found trouble again. While the NFL was investigating the domestic violence allegations, he was accused of punching and breaking a DJ’s nose at a night club in Dallas. Reports varied as to what exactly happened in the fracas and no charges were filed.
Last season, Elliott helped return the Cowboys to the playoffs by leading the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. His six-game suspension sent shock waves around the league and immediately changed the preseason landscape for a team expected to challenge for the Super Bowl and a running back who was pegged to be selected atop fantasy drafts.
Elliott has just days to file an appeal, which he is most likely to do. On Friday, he responded to the suspension on Twitter saying he is “both surprised and disappointed by the NFL’s decision today” and added, “I strongly disagree with the league’s findings.”
Elliott apologized for the distraction he has caused for everyone and went on to tweet, “I admit that I am far from perfect, but I plan to continue to work very hard, on and off the field, to mature and earn the great opportunity I have been given.”
Ohio State’s leading tackler the last two seasons, McMillan was on his way to earning a starting role with Miami when he sustained a nasty injury to his right knee in the preseason opener.
A second-round draft pick, McMillan tore his ACL while on punt coverage in the opening minutes of the first quarter. He walked off the field under his own power, was taken to the locker room and did not return.
The Dolphins now are likely to turn to Mike Hull, an undrafted linebacker heading into his third season, to MLB unless they shift OLB Lawrence Timmons inside.