Despite the fact an independent arbitrator has upheld his six-game suspension, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will still play this weekend.
The fate of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott became slightly clearer on Tuesday night. According to reports, independent arbitrator Harold Henderson had upheld the six-game suspension for Elliott following his appeal of the NFL’s original ban. But the league will allow him to playing in the Cowboys’ Week One opener, Sunday night against the New York Giants.
Henderson’s decision should have had the 22-year old running back sidelined against the Giants this weekend, and the five games afterwards. But the NFL has decided to allow Elliott to play this weekend due to the timing of the announcement of those arbitration results.
So, as it stands, Elliott’s suspension should start in Week Two, when the Cowboys are set to face the Denver Broncos at home. Although the result of the appeal is disappointing, Elliott’s attorneys intend to give Zeke his day in federal court. And a decision on their request for a restraining order, which is currently scheduled for this Friday, could postpone Elliott’s suspension until those legal proceedings are completed.
The Cowboys young runner was suspended for six-games in early August following a year-long investigation into a string of alleged domestic violence incidents that took place in July of 2016.
Elliott lead the NFL in rushing last year, after being selected fourth overall in the NFL draft out of Ohio State. Helping the Cowboys reach a 13-3 record in 2016, Zeke had 322 carries for 1,631 yards and averaged a rushing touchdown per game with 15 scores.
The Cowboys have collected plenty of roster insurance to offset any games Elliott may miss due to his ban this season. Dallas currently has veterans Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris on the depth chart, both of whom have been starters in the NFL for years. The Cowboys also have Rod Smith, the brother of linebacker Jaylon Smith, who is a hard-running, 25-year old rushing prospect that shined in the preseason.
The war between the NFL and Ezekiel Elliott wages on. But the league has definitely won this pivotal battle, which could end up being a defining victory.