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Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Suspended Six Games

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott

The NFL has suspended Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for six games, the long-awaited ruling on an investigation into domestic violence allegations that has lasted for over a year.

The domestic violence accusations came from a former girlfriend of Elliott's who has twice claimed that Zeke physically abused her. The credibility of the accuser has been in question, though, from evidence that she was lying and asking friends to do the same. Elliott has explained that the woman is bitter over their relationship and trying to hurt him in the public eye.

Even if the domestic issue was entirely false, Zeke's had some other problems and hits to his reputation. He was seen at a marijuana dispensary in Seattle during the 2016 preseason, which isn't illegal in the state of Washington but still a bad look given the league's policy on cannabis.

Last March, Zeke was caught on camera briefly lifting a female friend's shirt up during a St. Patrick's Day parade. It quickly became clear that this was in keeping with their relationship, but still poor judgment in Elliott's part given the ongoing domestic violence investigation.

Elliott also received a speeding ticket for going 100 mph on a 70 mph highway in April. In July, he was at a nightclub where a fight occurred and police were called in. It was initially rumored that he'd been involved in the altercation, but that was never confirmed or charged officially.

To see the NFL's letter to Elliott explaining their ruling, click here.

Ezekiel Elliott

RB Ezekiel Elliott

The wait for the NFL's initial ruling is over, but the fight may have only just begun for Zeke and the league. He does have the right to appeal the suspension, the process for which was outlined by sports attorney Daniel Wallach on Twitter:

Daniel Wallach on Twitter

Elliott must file his appeal within 3 business days, and #NFL would then have 10 days to conduct a hearing. https://t.co/SU7ecnLnlC

The idea has been out there that Elliott and the Cowboys might use the appeal process strategically. Zeke's suspension is not enforced while under appeal, meaning he can keep playing until it's over. Even if they don't believe the suspension would be reduced, keeping Elliott available for the season opener against the New York Giants makes a lot of sense.

Based on the timeline provided by Wallach, the NFL's internal appeal process would be done by August 29th or 30th (depending on if today counts as one of the three days to file appeal). The Giants will be here on September 10th. Obviously, that doesn't work.

However, Elliott could then seek an injunction against the NFL and take his fight to the courts. The effect would be the same; Zeke could keep playing while the process plays out through the legal system. As we saw with Tom Brady, that could potentially delay things for an entire year.

Darren McFadden

Darren McFadden

There is always the potential, though, that Zeke doesn't want to go through all of this and will just accept the suspension. If so, Dallas will likely be looking to Darren McFadden as they did in 2015. Even with Tony Romo out of the year and no real passing threat from Matt Cassel, Brandon Weeden, or Kellen Moore, McFadden still had over 1,000 yards on the ground and 300 receiving.  With Dak Prescott under center, McFadden could conceivably do even more.

That said, McFadden was 28 then and turns 30 in a few weeks. That's a long time in RB years. Thankfully, the Cowboys still have Alfred Morris and the emerging Rod Smith to help lighten the load. We may see more of a rotation during Zeke's absence than we're used to from recent seasons.

What the Cowboys do next depends on Ezekiel Elliott. Will he appeal? How far will he take that fight? I hate to say it after all this time, but we're still in wait-and-see mode.


Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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7 Comments
  • Assassin

    This is nutz. Ray Rice gets caught on video beating his wife and was suspended 4 less games than Zeke. Josh Brown ADMITS to repeatedly beating his wife and gets five games less

    • Charles

      Not to mention that 2 of 4 board members could definitely be biased. Former Attorney General of New Jersey and former Federal Prosecutor who is an admitted rabid Giants fan. I smell conspiracy. Mara is happy for sure.

  • George_Johnson

    There is more to the story and the NFL needs to release the details. Otherwise it seems unfair. It isn’t just Zeke that is impacted but the Cowboy nation. They want answers and the NFL’s credibility is on the line. In order to punish someone you need to have conclusive and reasonable evidence. What is that evidence? If you just have a possibility or even probability, then you don’t go forward with the punishment even though there is a possibility he is guilty.

    • Russ_Te

      ESPN’s article today went into what the NFL obtained for it’s conclusions. Interviews of both parties, text messages, injury pics it said meta-dated to the time frame involved. It seems to have ignored that witnesses heard the woman threaten to ruin EE’s career, one reason the police did not charge.

      So if you run your own CSI shop and you are going to disregard police conclusions – and you decide he did it – then why is it only 6 games? Are you weak on DV, or are you rather on shaky ground with the whole endeavor…

  • https://InsideTheStar.com/ Bryson Treece

    Hate to say it, but it does look like Zeke is receiving a harsher punishment for an accusation than others did for confirmed acts (thanks to @disqus_hGvt5tR9jw:disqus for the details). I’ve read the leaked letter to Elliott from NFL counsel and it doesn’t fully jive. This whole thing has been a joke from the start and the punchline didn’t help matters. Do better, NFL.

  • https://InsideTheStar.com/ Bryson Treece

    Editor’s Note: A link to the letter from NFL counsel was added to the article for better understanding of the situation.

  • Russ_Te

    The NFL is on to new & legally shaky ground when it re-doubles a police investigation, takes a year on it, and reaches sharply different conclusions based upon a lesser threshold of evidence. It is as if IT has sued Elliott civilly after he was exonerated criminally.

    Add in that the NFL seems to be changing it’s standards on DV allegations depending on how much public backlash it is getting, and now Goodell is way off the ranch IMO. I expect the appeal will produce a reduction to 3 games, Elliott will sue the league over that loss of income, and win.

    I will concede the guy is immature and needs a team chaperone mechanism, not unlike the one Dez needed. But the league is imposing a form of double-jeopardy by being it’s own CSI unit now. They need to lose in court on this & Goodell then shown the door.

Player News

Cowboys TE James Hanna Retiring

Jess Haynie

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James Hanna

In an unexpected bit of pre-draft news, Dallas Cowboys backup tight end James Hanna will be retiring after six seasons. He was drafted by the Cowboys in sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

The news of Hanna's retirement was first reported by ESPN's Todd Archer:

Todd Archer on Twitter

The Cowboys will place James Hanna on the reserve/retired list as the tight end could not get over a serious knee condition that troubled him for most of the last two seasons, according to sources. Hanna was not involved in the early part of the team's... https://t.co/45BAZ2avSC

Hanna, who turns 29 in July, missed all of 2016 with that knee issue and has had two surgeries. He was active for all 16 games last season but wasn't used much on offense, only having four catches. James did catch his first and only NFL touchdown in the team's Week 4 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Many thought Hanna would be a salary cap casualty this offseason, but a retirement has the same effect on the cap. The Cowboys now save $2.75 million off his scheduled $3.5 mullion cap hit in 2018.

James Hanna has stuck around this long thanks to being a proficient blocker and one of the standout players on special teams. Geoff Swaim, entering the final year of his rookie deal, will likely be trusted to fill those roles.

That said, tight end was already a targeted position for the Cowboys in next week's draft. Losing Hanna only give the team more incentive to add more talent.


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Optimistic Reports Emerge Around Randy Gregory

Mauricio Rodriguez

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Randy Gregory, Eagles
Eric Hartline / USA TODAY Sports

Good news are coming to Dallas just in time. Less than a week from now, the NFL Draft will be held in the Cowboys' home, the AT&T Stadium. But the team may count with a defensive talent many in Cowboys Nation have tried to forget for a while now. Randy Gregory's comeback may just happen.

There's a lot of positions in the roster that need more help than the defensive end one, but after finding the "War Daddy" Jerry Jones has always wanted in DeMarcus Lawrence, finding a RDE this offseason would be a dream scenario.

Sure, there's a lot of young talent in this football team and they'll be coming off a season that put a chip on their shoulders. Even so, they'll need all the help they can get.

Fortunately for the Cowboys, some help could come in form of a very talented pass rusher. Randy Gregory is reportedly applying for reinstatement very soon and according to Mike Fisher and Bobby Belt, there are positive reports around the situation.

Bobby Belt on Twitter

Randy Gregory update: I'm told there is real momentum building. He is expected to apply for reinstatement in the week or two following next week's NFL Draft.

Cowboys Nation last saw the second round pick back in 2016, but his potential shouldn't be forgotten. Of course, the Cowboys shouldn't be considering Gregory for their 2018 plans, simply because there's risk of him not being available.

Even still, Dallas may get lucky at defensive end. After DeMarcus Lawrence has a breakout season in 2017, imagine the defensive line with Randy Gregory reinstated and rehabilitated to exploit his talent in the NFL.

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

UPDATE: We're told Randy Gregory camp is ready to present to NFL the fact the #Cowboys DE has passed a large number of drug tests, hasn't failed one since July 2016. https://t.co/Hjgu2CqRtC

Despite some TMZ "reports", it looks like Gregory has been clean for a while. It sure should make Cowboys' fans happy and not only form a football perspective. A comeback would definitely be something amazing. He has a chance to write a unique story for himself.

Everyone likes second-chance stories. Gregory is a guy who had his share of problems. By coming back to the NFL, he's showing players and fans that change is possible. This wouldn't just be epic for Dallas Cowboys fans but NFL fans in general.

If Dallas is fortunate enough to see Gregory reinstated by the NFL, their fight in the trenches might see a big upgrade next season. Randy still has a lot to work on and he might not even be a starter right away, but the potential is right there.

The Cowboys could become a team capable of dominating the line of scrimmage both on offense and on defense.

Hopefully, Gregory is able to come back and shine as a professional player. He, and NFL fans deserve a story like that.

Tell me what you think about "Optimistic Reports Emerge Around Randy Gregory" in the comments below, or tweet me @PepoR99 and let’s talk football! If you like football and are looking for a Dallas Cowboys show in Spanish, don’t miss my weekly Facebook Live! show, Primero Cowboys!


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Player News

BREAKING: Dallas Cowboys DT David Irving Reports to Voluntary Workouts

John Williams

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Could Any of These 3 Cowboys Disappoint Cowboys Nation in 2017?

2018 gets better by the day as the NFL takes another step closer to the regular season with the beginning of team voluntary workouts. The Dallas Cowboys have their first voluntary workout today at The Star.

Clarence Hill Jr. is reporting that Dallas Cowboys' restricted free agent Defensive Tackle David Irving has shown up for the first day of workouts.

Clarence Hill Jr on Twitter

Cowboys DT David Irving has yet to sign his rfa tender but he did show up for first day offseason program, per source, for those questioning his commitment

Irving who was second on the team in sacks for the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 with seven, while only playing in 8 games, hasn't yet signed his restricted free agent tender.

Todd Archer from ESPN is reporting that David Irving expects to sign his RFA tender after today's workout guaranteeing him the second round tender figure of $2.91 million for 2018.

Todd Archer on Twitter

David Irving is expected to sign his restricted free agent tender today after the first workouts of the Cowboys' offseason program. Irving, who had seven sacks in eight games last season, will make $2.91 million. He is scheduled to become an... https://t.co/2EcPJ71OOe

As someone with as much production as Irving has had in the last couple of years, it's a bit surprising that teams around the NFL haven't jumped on that kind of interior presence. Teams looking for a player of Irving's caliber can still extend an offer sheet for the defensive tackle's services, but would have to give Dallas their 2018 second round pick.

The Dallas Cowboys would have the option of matching any offer sheet that David Irving signs. Perhaps they've indicated their intention to do so, given Irving's presence at the first day of practice.

It was quite a gamble, as many around Cowboys Nation believed that a team would quickly exchange a second round pick for Irving, but no one has offered him a contract to sign him away from the Cowboys.

David Irving has received criticism for his consistency after the 2016 season, but really found a stride in 2017 until a concussion derailed him toward the end of the season.

It's a great sign for the Dallas Cowboys that he's shown up ready to work for the 2018 season. David Irving is absolutely an ascending player and the sky is the limit for this defense with him as a part of it.


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