Welcome to the Ezekiel Elliott case, Mr. Henderson. On the very first day that the NFL announced that Harold Henderson - and not Commissioner Goodell - will hear Elliott's official appeal of his six game suspension, the NFL released a potent statement on the state of a case that has taken a turn for the worse in the ever-important court of public opinion.
New NFL statement
The move seemingly backfired quickly on the league, as the NFLPA responded to the above NFL statement with one of their strongest defenses of a player in recent memory.
The public statement issued on behalf of every NFL owner is a lie. The NFLPA categorically denies the accusations made in this statement.
The "new lows" bit from the NFLPA here is particularly scathing, as the NFL does truly deserve support in their efforts to bring the truths of any harm their employers cause to victims of any kind to light. Belief in the league's ability to justly do just this though have come into question with a berating of screenshots that Tiffany Thompson sent Ezekiel Elliott via text message on Twitter, quotes from Thompson cited by key witnesses, and forensic evidence of her bruises (that Thompson herself of course posted publicly to Instagram).
As if anyone needed this reminder, all of this comes after the league launched a 13 month investigation into a case that was dismissed by the the DA in Ohio.
Elliott's camp has not added any new information to support their firm stance that Ezekiel is entirely innocent of any abuse against Thompson, while the NFL has tried but failed miserably to provide anything concrete as to why Elliott was suspended for six games despite the lead investigator in the case finding it hard to believe Tiffany Thompson. Even worse is calling the public's attempt for the truth to surface "shameful", as Thompson coming forward about her incidents with Elliott was never a problem for the league - despite Roger Goodell not meeting with her directly.
After just one day on the trail, these are the latest additions to an ongoing saga with no end in sight for Cowboys' star running back Ezekiel Elliott that Harold Henderson will have to sort through before an appeal hearing that can keep this case out of court.
Henderson most notably overheard Greg Hardy's domestic violence appeal in 2015, reducing a then ten game suspension down to four. Further reports on Henderson mention that, while he'll look to still operate in the NFL's best interest, he has the experience and track record to handle this high-profile Ezekiel Elliott appeal the right way.
Here's what Harold Henderson said on reducing Greg Hardy's suspension in July 2015. It was about precedent/notice, not conduct.
Henderson had this to say about his Hardy decision, agreeing that the NFL operated within their rights to suspend Hardy ten games before providing a check against this powerful piece of the CBA (Article 46) and reducing the penalty.
Will six games be "simply too much" for Ezekiel Elliott given that the NFL suspended him for "conduct detrimental to the league", for which at this point he is just as guilty of as the very league itself through their handling of this?
The answer to this may mercifully come for Cowboys Nation to deal with sometime soon after August 29th, when Elliott's appeal hearing will be held.
Until then we can expect more stories like this from D Magazine to further create division between two sides - that of Ezekiel Elliott's and that of Tiffany Thompson's - as neither side will be put in a position to realize that there's a common cause to be fought for here in regards to the NFL's power and the truth about a string of domestic disputes.
Report: Center Travis Frederick Undergoing Shoulder Evaluation
After missing the team's walkthrough this morning, it is being reported that Dallas Cowboys starting center Travis Frederick is having his shoulder evaluated due to multiple stingers. According to reports, Frederick has been dealing with stingers all training camp, and the Cowboys are unsure what is wrong with his shoulder.
Frederick rarely misses any practice time at all, and has not missed a start since he entered the league in 2013. He's the catalyst of this offensive line, and will be greatly missed if his injury is severe enough to make him miss regular season game time.
Jason Garrett says Travis Frederick is getting his shoulder looked at in Los Angeles. He's been dealing with stingers. No update behind that #cowboyswire
Joe Looney has been tasked with replacing Frederick for the time being, taking first team center reps during today's walk through and practice.
Given how meaningless Saturday's game is, I'd expect Looney to start at center against the Bengals this weekend as well. Hopefully the evaluation reveals that Frederick's issues are not serious and he will be ready for game one, but consistent stingers will always make fans fear for the worst.
Cowboys G Marcus Martin Needs Surgery; Impact on 53-Man Roster
Marcus Martin, the veteran guard Dallas signed as a free agent last March, suffered a potential season-ending injury in the team's preseason opener last Thursday night. Just how long he'll be out is still be determined, but it still should impact the Cowboys' final 53-man roster this season.
Martin tore ligaments in his right big toe against the 49ers. However, as of yesterday, it was not decided if he would pursue surgery.
The Cowboys don't expect backup OG Marcus Martin to play this season after he tore ligaments in his big toe in the preseason opener, but he's seeking a 2nd opinion before deciding whether to have surgery. Martin signed a 1-year deal with Dallas as a free agent this offseason.
A former third-round pick in 2014, the 24-year-old was brought in as a potential reserve at both guard at center. He was still in competition with Joe Looney and others for a roster spot, though, and his minimal one-year contract suggested nothing was guaranteed.
Even if Martin doesn't have surgery, he is almost sure to miss the start of the season. Dallas would likely place him on injured reserve, but still have the option to recall him after Week 8.
Marcus' absence all but guarantees that Looney will return in 2018. This will be his third year in the system and his ability to play center is critical.
In my 53-man roster projection last week, I had both Looney and Martin making the team. So if I had that right, that means a spot has opened up for probably fifth-year veteran Kadeem Edwards, who was playing with the second unit in the preseason opener.
The notorious Chaz Green, who has played guard at times, could also be the beneficiary of the open roster spot.
Damien Mama, an undrafted free agent in 2017 who Dallas added this offseason, is the only other guard currently on the roster. We should get to see more of him as the preseason continues.
Marcus Martin's availability, or lack thereof, and how it ultimately impacts the roster will be determined in the coming weeks.
LB Jaylon Smith 100% Healthy Entering 2018 Season
If you need any more reason to be excited about the Dallas Cowboys upcoming 2018 season, then look no further than their 2016 second-round draft pick, Jaylon Smith. His comeback story from the devastating knee injury he sustained in his last collegiate game at Notre Dame has been well-documented, but recent news suggests his journey has finally come full circle.
Once considered a top-five pick, Smith saw his draft stock plummet due to concerns he may never be able to step foot on the field ever again. Fortunately, the Dallas Cowboys were willing to gamble he would be able to make a full recovery and once again become the player he was with the Fighting Irish.
The long and grueling rehab process couldn't have been easy to endure. Jaylon Smith was forced to pretty much redshirt his rookie season and played on a pitch count Year 2 while he continued to rehab, waiting for nerve regeneration that may never fully heal.
Luckily for him, he joined a team with a really good support system both on and off the field. A support system that just so happened to include his brother, Running Back Rod Smith. It's that support system that could have made a huge difference in his approach to rehab. An approach that may have finally paid off.
All reports indicate Jaylon Smith is 100% healthy once again, or as close to it as possible. Rod Smith, his brother, said Jaylon is back to being as good as he was at Notre Dame. Jaylon however said he is even better than he was. But, they are not the only ones weighing in on Smith's health.
Scouting Director Will McClay went on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio Monday morning and declared LB Jaylon 100 percent healthy from the injury he suffered in college that kept him out his rookie season in 2016 and had him on a pitch count in 2017.
Will McClay isn't the only one that has noticed a difference in Jaylon Smith. Head Coach Jason Garrett has said Smith has grown leaps and bounds from last year and are treating him like a player with no limitations.
"Again, he worked hard in his rehab. Coming into this off-season he was able to take that brace off. I think that's freed him up a little bit," Garrett said.
"And he just looks much more natural. So again, you'll have to ask him that very question, but from our point of view, he looks like he's moving around really well, changing direction really well, making a lot of plays. I think he's gaining more confidence with each day. We really don't have a plan for him right now. He's full-go and ready to practice every day with no limitation."
All of these accounts certainly make it sound like Jaylon Smith's arrow is trending upwards and that he is as healthy as he has been since joining the Dallas Cowboys.
Luckily, we don't have long to see him in action. I don't know about you, but Thursday night when the Cowboys take on the San Francisco 49ers in the Week 1 of the NFL Preseason can't get here soon enough.
Are you excited to see a 100% healthy Jaylon Smith this season?
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