Ezekiel Elliott may be a rookie, but he's looking more mature than the NFL after being penalized for a red-letter touchdown celebration Sunday night.
The Cowboys running back scored from two yards out to put Dallas up 10-3 over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with 12:38 to go in the second quarter. The touchdown was his 13th on the season, a franchise rookie record.
Elliott celebrated by jumping into a large, red Salvation Army kettle near the stands to wild cheers at AT&T Stadium, but he was subsequently hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for "using a prop" to celebrate.
The Salvation Army reported that it received $182,000 in online donations, a 61 percent increase, in the hours after Elliott's kettle hop.
NFL owners voted 29-3 to outlaw the use of props in celebrations in 2006. The "offense" can carry a fine of up to $12,154.
"I'm going to match whatever they fine me with a donation to the Salvation Army," Elliott said after the game.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Monday morning that Elliott would not be fined for the celebration. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tweeted confirmation shortly after.
Elliott later tweeted that he would make a $21,000 donation to the Salvation Army anyway.
Meanwhile, the Salvation Army is thanking Elliott for putting the organization in the spotlight.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he thinks Elliott should be praised for the attention he gave to the Salvation Army.
"My dream is that the NFL would fine the daylights out me," he said. "And I'm going to take them to the Supreme Court and we're going to get the Salvation Army a lot of notice here."
[NATL-DFW] In Pictures: Zeke's Red Kettle Moment
Last month, the rookie sensation was part of two groups of Cowboys who served Thanksgiving meals at local Salvation Army locations. He scooped up a three-month old baby in a Fort Worth cafeteria, and afterward the baby's mother, Madison Malloy, said, "It feels like they actually care about the community and about giving back and showing support."
Sunday, Elliott said he wants to keep having fun but regretted putting his team in a bad spot by moving the ensuing kickoff back 15 yards. But it didn't seem to hurt the team too much in the end.
"I think the kickoff team had my back," he said with a laugh. The Buccaneers "didn't even get to the 25."
Elliott finished the day with a career-high 159 rushing yards on 23 carries and added 29 yards on three catches.