Ezekiel Elliott was suspended for six games in 2017 and by just about every measure, last season was a huge disappointment. Yes, he still rushed for 983 yards, but he averaged a yard less per carry (4.1) than he did during his rookie season, scored eight fewer touchdowns, and the Cowboys went from 13-3 to 9-7.

A big part of that, you could argue, had to do with Elliott's suspension. Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones has long insisted the suspension was unfair, though on Saturday he also maintained that Elliott will hopefully grow from an otherwise forgettable and frustrating experience.

"He's paid the most level of punishment that I've seen for what he did," Jones said, via the Dallas Morning News' Kate Hairopoulos. "So he's done that. That would make any of us cognizant of the fact that you have serious accountability for any situation that you get into. ... And it's costly, and it's certainly cost him. It's cost him. So he's smart; he is smart. And so we should have every reason to believe that that will be a constant reminder when you're making decisions. I think that's the case."

Jones' remarks come days before he will testify under oath before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to determine what, if anything, the Cowboys owe the league and the other 31 teams for legal fees incurred over litigation related to Elliott's suspension, as well as Jones' threat of litigation over Goodell's new contract.

The Dallas owner spoke about that too

"Looking forward to my time with [Goodell] regarding both the issues of how we were involved or not involved in the Ezekiel Elliott issue as well as the issue of what we did or didn't do relative to his contract negotiation," Jones said, via the Morning News. "Those will be the subject areas, but the key thing is it's really factual ... you ... address the facts. I know he wants to know that, and I want him to know what the facts are."

The good news is that Elliott, who struggled to stay out of the news for all the wrong reasons last offseason, hasn't been heard from since the season ended. During Super Bowl week, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones was asked if he thought the running back has since matured.

"I can only say you hope so," Jones said at the time. "Zeke needs to answer that question. Obviously, right up through the start of last season, there were things that were popping up. We haven't seen that as of late and hopefully that's a good indicator that he understands."