Ezekiel Elliott’s Six-Game Suspension Has Been Restored

Ezekiel Elliott
FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, file photo, Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott stands on the field after their 35-31 loss to the Green Bay Packers in a NFL football game in Arlington, Texas. A federal appeals court on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, has lifted an injunction that blocked a six-game suspension for Elliott, clearing the way for the NFL’s punishment over domestic violence allegations and likely leading to the running back’s legal team seeking further relief. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File)

In the span of less than 96 hours the Dallas Cowboys have endured a lot:

  • They released cornerback Nolan Carroll (a starter at one point this season)
  • Defensive tackle Stephen Paea retired (also a one-time starter)
  • Jerry Jones had comments about the National Anthem that caused a team-wide meeting
  • Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension has been restored

Things just got insanely more difficult for a team that’s already in a 2-3 hole. Ezekiel Elliott, originally suspended six games due to allegations of domestic violence before a preliminary injunction halted things,  has had his suspension restored.

What is going on?

When Ezekiel Elliott was initially appealing his six-game suspension, his legal team filed for an injunction in the state of Texas. This was done prior to the conclusion of the appeal for two reasons:

  1. Elliott’s legal team anticipated an appeal ruling not in their favor.
  2. Elliott’s team preferred the injunction to happen in the state of Texas as opposed to New York, given the likelihood of a ruling in their favor being larger in Texas.

This was a Hail Mary of an option, but with your back against the wall you don’t have many choices. Ultimately the appeal was denied and the injunction was granted. Elliott was allowed to play in the interim.

That was until Thursday, of course. The Fifth Circuit of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, vacated Elliott’s preliminary injunction. The ruling was based on the fact that, since arbitrator Harold Henderson hadn’t yet ruled on Elliott’s appeal at the time of filing, the injunction was premature.

As a result, the injunction is essentially undone, meaning that the NFL can, and did, re-enforce Elliott’s six-game suspension.

What does this mean for Ezekiel Elliott?

As of now, Ezekiel Elliott is suspended and will miss the next six games for the Dallas Cowboys:

  • At San Francisco 49ers
  • At Washington Redskins
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • At Atlanta Falcons
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Los Angeles Chargers

This would mean that Elliott could return to the team on the day after Thanksgiving. In the meantime? Elliott is not allowed to be at the Cowboys facilities.

What options does Ezekiel Elliott have?

Ezekiel Elliott and his camp basically have had the reset button hit on this whole thing. He has the opportunity to fight once again, albeit this time likely in the courts of New York.

Should Elliott lose in New York (or wherever this winds up), his suspension will stick and that will essentially be the end of things. We will be back to where we are now, which is where we were before the initial preliminary injunction was granted.

The reality here is that in situations like this, the power and ability to make decisions lies solely on the side of the NFL. It’s an uphill battle at best for Elliott, and his legal team is prepared to make it.

What does this mean for the Cowboys as a whole?

As of now the Dallas Cowboys have two open roster spots, due to Elliott’s suspension beginning immediately. They released Nolan Carroll, lost Stephen Paea to retirement, signed a linebacker in Justin March-Lillard, and now have the absence left by Elliott.

The Cowboys have running backs Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden, and Rod Smith all as viable options in the run game. It’s extremely unlikely that they look to add any more talent there if/when the Elliott suspension fully holds.

Jason Garrett is the reigning Coach of the Year, and he has quite the smorgasbord of hurdles facing his team right now. A 2-3 record is already an uncomfortable feeling, we’ll see how the team handles this as they prepare to travel to San Francisco next week.

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