Ezekiel Elliott could be the next Emmitt Smith, but a six-game suspension for alleged domestic violence has the Hall of Famer worried about whether he ultimately will be.

“What I’m really concerned about is his future,” Smith told “The Rich Eisen Show” on Friday, as transcribed by Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk. “This is a tremendous opportunity for a lot of athletes to be able to do something that you absolutely love and get compensated for it and be able to have an impact in another person’s life.

“But this is temporary. We have a shelf life in this sport. This doesn’t last long, so we have to take advantage of every moment and missing six games right now is not affording you the opportunity to take advantage of every moment.”

Elliott’s suspension marks the latest turn in a career already stacked with ups and downs, both on and off the field. For all the thrilling moments he’s enjoyed in a Cowboys uniform, he’s also dealt with his share of drama when he’s out of the jersey.

“For Zeke, it’s going to be tormenting to watching someone else taking the reps that he should be getting,” added Smith. “It’s going to be tormenting. So I want to be a sounding board for him. I want to see him become very, very successful.”

Elliott was a first-team All Pro selection last year, but will be hard-pressed to get there again in 2017 with six fewer games on his docket.

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