As Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott readies himself for his first NFL season, the first-round draft pick spoke Monday about his recent trip to a marijuana dispensary.
TMZ Sports reported on Thursday that Elliott went to the Herban Legends dispensary in Seattle prior to the Cowboys' preseason game against the Seahawks. The site added that Elliott was not seen making any purchases and that tourists sometimes browse dispensaries while visiting Seattle, where it is legal to buy marijuana.
On Monday, Elliott expressed regret for his decision to visit a dispensary.
"It was a bad decision," Elliott said, per Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News. "Just seen it walking around. Was curious. I didn't really think about it before I went in, what the repercussions could have been. It wasn't like I was trying to hide it or anything. I took pictures with people. It wasn't like I was up to no good."
Elliott added that he needs to start considering the perception of his actions: "It may not seem like it's a big deal to you yourself but there is a bigger picture. It's definitely a learning experience about the scrutiny. You just got to be careful and not give anyone a chance to say anything."
Hairopoulos noted that Elliott has apologized to Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett about the incident.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones previously discussed Elliott's incident, per ESPN.com's Todd Archer: "Well, I think that in and of itself the reason we are talking about it is in a way part of the learning process. But it's not good. It's just not good. It's just not good."
Marijuana is still banned in the NFL, and players are subject to fines and/or suspensions for failing drug tests.
Elliott will start the year as Dallas' starting running back when the team opens play on September 11 against the New York Giants. He has the potential to be the face of the franchise one day, but this incident suggests the 21-year-old still has some maturing to do.