Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will be allowed to play for the foreseeable future as a Texas judge has granted a preliminary injunction.
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will play this Sunday night in the team’s regular season opener against the New York Giants, despite a looming six-game suspension. But on Friday, a Texas judge approved a temporary restraining order and granted a preliminary injunction that could allow Elliott to play the entire season.
Last month, Elliott was levied a six-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy following a year-long investigation into an alleged domestic violence incident that took place in July of 2016.
After filling an appeal, Arbitrator Harold Henderson upheld that ban earlier this week. Despite the verdict, Elliott is still allowed to play Week One against the New York Giants due to the late timing of that announcement.
Prior to the outcome of that appeal, the NFL Players Association filed a petition in a Texas court to vacate Elliott’s ban and asked that a temporary restraining order (TRO) be issued that would allow him to play until his case could be heard in federal court.
On Friday, Judge Amos L. Mazzaint III reportedly approved the NFLPA’s request for a TRO as well as granting a preliminary injunction motion on Elliott’s behalf. Mazzaint stated he believes the player did not receive a fundamentally fair hearing before the arbitrator.
Elliott is now expected to be allowed to play the entire season as the legal battle between the NFL and NFLPA is just beginning.
So, what’s the next legal step? It appears the NFL will appeal this decision and may attempt to get Judge Mazzaint’s ruling overturned.
Although this news doesn’t abolish the six-game suspension, it will postpone when Elliott has to serve it. And that’s expected to allow the young runner to play for Dallas the entire season.
The Cowboys selected Elliott with the fourth overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. During his final season at Ohio State, he posted 1,823 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. Elliott was earmarked as the best running back in his draft class and possibly the best prospect at his position since Oklahoma’s Adrian Peterson went seventh overall to the Minnesota Vikings in the 2007 draft.
Behind the Cowboys dominate offensive line, which features three perennial Pro Bowlers, Elliott flourished in Dallas. The rookie led the NFL in rushing last year, recording 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns. Elliott also led the league in carries with 322, while averaging 5.1 yards per attempt.