-- FRISCO, Texas -- One day after the Columbus (Ohio) City Attorney's Office decided not to pursue charges against him stemming from allegations of domestic violence toward a former girlfriend, Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott admitted he's learned an important lesson.?
"I'm a target," Elliott said Wednesday in his first public comments. "That's what I've realized from all of this, and I have to conduct myself that way, so I cannot have any distractions so I can just focus on ball."
In July, Tiffany Thompson filed two police reports claiming Elliott abused her and struck her "several times ... leaving bruises on her arms." The former Ohio State star, however, told police that he never touched Thompson in "a harmful manner," saying she suffered the bruises during a bar fight.
On Tuesday, the City Attorney's Office said it declined to pursue charges because of "conflicting and inconsistent information." It also said Elliott was cooperative in the investigation and offered affidavits and photographs to support his case.
"I feel like there has been some damages done," Elliott said of his reputation, "but the past is the past. I'm focused on now."
Elliott, the fourth player taken in the NFL draft, said he wanted to focus on Week 1 opponent the New York Giants.
"I'm ready to leave that all behind me," he said. "I really don't want to talk about it much. I tried to block it out and try to focus on football -- what's important. I know I didn't do anything wrong.
"We were very confident since Day 1. I wasn't really worried that much. I was really focused on ball and let my lawyers and representatives handle the rest."
Elliott remains under review by the NFL. A player does not need to be formally charged with a crime to be punished under the league's personal conduct policy.
Last month, Elliott found himself in the news for another reason. He visited a legal marijuana dispensary in Seattle before the team's preseason game against the Seahawks, and afterward, owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett criticized the rookie's decision.
The Dallas Morning News, meanwhile, obtained court documents that revealed an exchange of texts messages between Elliott and the former girlfriend regarding whether he thought he might fail a drug test.
"I know you're stressed out, if you need me, call me. Just do everything you can to pass your drug test tomorrow. You'll be okay. I'm here for you,'' the woman's text read.
"I'm gonna pass (the test),'' Elliott replied.
The next text, according to The Dallas Morning News, came from Elliott and read: "About to live in this sauna the next 24 hours.''
When asked about the text exchange Wednesday, Elliott said, "Honestly, I have no idea what you're talking about. I haven't seen those. I'm actually talking about football. I'm sorry."
Note: ESPN typically does not release the names of alleged domestic violence victims, but Thompson posted Instagram photos showing bruises on her body. One of her posts was tagged to Ezekiel Elliott.