Urban Meyer shared his advice for Ezekiel Elliott and said the former Buckeyes running back would be welcomed back to Ohio State during an interview with SiriusXM Radio on Friday.
Meyer says he has spoken with Elliott, who received a six-game suspension from the NFL last week following an investigation into domestic violence accusations against him, but said his former player is "not as easy to get a hold of like he used to be."
Meyer, who says he had Thanksgiving dinner with Elliott when he was at Ohio State and remains very close with Elliott's parents and sisters, still considers Elliott to be a part of his family. He says he is concerned about his former player, though, and advises him to "be very selective who you hang with."
"He's very young still, and I worry about our players all the time," Meyer said. "We're all human, we make mistakes, but you just got to be so cautious of the group you're hanging with and the people you hang with, and do they have everybody's best interest at heart.
Elliott has filed to appeal his suspension with the NFL, disputing the accuracy of the league's investigation, which determined that Elliott used physical force to cause injuries to his former girlfriend on three separate occasions between July 17, 2016 and July 21, 2016. Elliott made off-field headlines again in March, when TMZ published a video of Elliott exposing a woman's breast during a St. Patrick's Day parade in Dallas. Elliott was also accused of punching a man in a Dallas bar in July, but charges were not filed.
Meyer says his concerns regarding Elliott are concerns he has not only about him, but many of his former players, as they navigate the post-collegiate world with the attention that comes with playing at Ohio State and later in the NFL.
"Everybody wants to be around guys like Zeke, 'cause they're reached the star level," Meyer said. "Ohio State's one of those places, there's only probably a dozen or less, that you become bigger than really you should be. And I worry about that. So my advice to Zeke is you live in a cocoon, which is hard, but that's the way it is."
Should Elliott have interest in working out at Ohio State at any time during his suspension, Meyer says the door to the program would be open, and he hopes Elliott will return to Columbus soon.
"I'd like to see him, because I'd like to do the best we can to control it, to talk to him," Meyer said. "In these hallways, we have a little bit more control than we do when they're out of town."
Meyer's full interview with SiriusXM Radio is scheduled to air as part of the network's College Sports Nation broadcast on Friday from 7-9 p.m., which will also feature interviews from other Buckeyes coaches and players, hosted by former Buckeyes linebackers A.J. Hawk and James Laurinaitis.