NFL won't fine Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott for Salvation Army kettle dive

By The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 19, 2016 at 1:25 PM
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The NFL will not fine Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott for jumping into an oversized Salvation Army red kettle in the end zone after a touchdown run during Sunday night's game.

Elliott celebrated a 2-yard TD run during the second quarter of the Cowboys' 26-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- quickly hiding from everybody in the large kettle before popping out. He was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The NFL confirmed Monday morning that Elliott would not be fined for the celebration, which drew nationwide attention on social media including from the Salvation Army, which praised the stunt.

"I mean it's just sitting there right in the end zone, you know. It's the perfect celebration," Elliot said after the game. "They're one of our biggest partners, so I had to show them a little bit of love."

Elliott's 13th rushing touchdown run broke Tony Dorsett's franchise record by a rookie. The score on third-and-goal gave the Cowboys a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.

Elliott said Monday he still planned to make a donation to the Salvation Army.

"Even though I will not be fined I still will be making a donation to the @SalvationArmyUS," Elliott wrote on Twitter.

Elliott said hopping into the kettle was a one-time gesture.

"Keep having fun, but just be mindful of those celebrations," Elliott said Sunday night. "We don't want to put our special teams in a bad situation because that penalty did take back 15 yards. But the kickoff team had my back."

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones enjoyed the rookie's celebration.

"I think the Salvation Army should give him the highest award," Jones said after the game. "My dream would be for the NFL to really fine me a lot of money and I'll take them to the Supreme Court and we'll get the Salvation Army more attention than anybody can get them. So let's go."

Coach Jason Garrett had a different take because of the 15-yard penalty.

"Well, he shouldn't have done it. I thought it was creative, but he shouldn't have done it," Garrett said after the game. "You know that's how the league is going to rule on those things. You have to understand what's legal and what's not legal. You can jump into the stands in Green Bay, but you can't jump into a Salvation Army bucket in Dallas. You've got to be careful about snow angels. All of these different things that we do. So we have to be more mindful of that. I've got to coach that better."

The Salvation Army appreciated Elliott's gesture.

"Nothing like a Zeke being dropped into one of our kettles! @EzekielElliott @dallascowboys," the Salvation Army tweeted Sunday night.

And on Monday morning, the Salvation Army wrote on Twitter: "Thanks @NFLprguy and thanks to @EzekielElliott for his @dallascowboys #kettlehop. Help us serve millions in need" after NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted "for those wondering, no fine for last nite's @SalvationArmyUS Kettle Hop by @EzekielElliott."

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