NFL

DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving Have Advice for Ezekiel Elliott

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The good news for Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is that he has several teammates who can offer some advice on how to handle his six-game suspension.

Of course, that could also be viewed as a negative, since it means the Cowboys have several players who have been suspended during the past few seasons.

Defensive tackle David Irving served a four-game suspension at the start of the season.

"Stay out of trouble and keep your head low. That's pretty much it," said Irving, when asked if he had any advice for Elliott.

Irving said he focused on conditioning while he was out so he could play 45-50 snaps as soon as he returned.

"I knew more than ever I had to be in better shape. I couldn't be out of shape. I had to come back and make an impression," he said. "The hardest part was watching them play."

"I didn't really watch them play too much. It was tough. I felt like I was supposed to be out there, because I was part of the team, but now I'm not. I can't talk to anybody, can't see anybody. It was tough."

Lawrence, who leads the NFL with 10.5 sacks, said he didn't like watching the Cowboys play, when the NFL suspended him for the first four games of the 2016 season.

"That was too hard because I know I would've made that play," Lawrence said.

Then he looked straight into the TV cameras and said, "Zeke don't watch the games bro. Just look at the highlights."

Elliott can't visit the facility or speak with coaches during the suspension.

Talk to Irving, Lawrence or any suspended player, and they'll tell you the most difficult aspect of the punishment is being away from the team. Players who are used to having regimented lives suddenly find themselves with an abundance of free time.

"This is a game we all love and have dreamed about playing since we were little kids. When that's taken away, I'm sure that's difficult," said Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, who's been close to Elliott since the Cowboys took him with the fourth pick of the 2016 draft.

"I'm in communication with him and will support him through it. It's never easy when you go through that. Our lives are set on a schedule. The opportunity we have week in and week out," he said. "Certainly he's put a lot of work into it and this team. To not have the opportunity, I know it hurts. We just need to play well until he gets back. I think our team understands that."

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