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What Does Hiring Of Jeffrey Kessler Mean For Ezekiel Elliott’s Suspension Appeals?

Kevin Brady



Ezekiel Elliott

As most of you probably know, Dallas Cowboys running back has been suspended for the first six games of 2017 due to domestic violence allegations. With an appeal hearing to begin this week, Elliott and his representatives hope to have this suspension reduced and/or repealed.

Due to the circumstances, however, it appears he will not be so successful in those goals this week. If the goal is for Elliott to clear his name and play in 2017, some serious moves were going to have to be made by both his team and the player's union.

Yesterday, the NFLPA and running back Ezekiel Elliott made their appeal intentions as clear as can be. By calling upon attorney Jeffrey Kessler to play a significant role in Elliott's appeal, it can now be assumed a federal court case is coming next.

The odds are you're wondering, who is Jeffrey Kessler and why does this matter?

Well, you've come to the right place for those answers.

Who is Jeffrey Kessler?What Does Hiring of Jeffrey Kessler Do For Ezekiel Elliott's Suspension Appeals?

Jefferey Kessler, refereed to as the "most powerful outside attack dog" by Yahoo Sports' Charles Robinson, has taken the NFL on in a multitude of high profile cases. Most recently, Kessler represented quarterback Tom Brady during Deflate-Gate and also filed an antitrust case against the league.

In both the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson cases, Kessler went all the way to federal court and was able to get their suspensions repealed. So clearly, he has experience dealing with this subject manner.

Doug Farrar on Twitter

Kessler has traditionally taken the NFL's lunch money. This will be interesting.

Back in 2015, Bleacher Report completed a profile on Kessler, receiving quotes from important members of the league. One league official called Kessler "the worst" and said he "scares me because he's so good."

An NFL coach was quoted as saying he loves Kessler because "he gets players back on the field."

If commissioner Roger Goodell is truly a dictator run wild with power, Jeffrey Kessler is the leading lawyer trying to check that power and bring him down. I am not saying he is a good man, or a villain, but he is clearly a damn-good lawyer with experience in terms of these suspension hearings.

What does this mean for Ezekiel Elliott?RB Ezekiel Elliott Again Preparing For "Dress Rehearsal" Debut

To be quite honest, it appears that Zeke lost this initial appeal before it has even started. Ezekiel Elliott and his representatives requested that his accuser, Tiffany Thompson, would appear for cross-examination at the appeal hearing. Yahoo Sports had reported that this cross-examination would prove to be vital to Elliott's chances of having the suspension repealed.

That request was denied.

Now, without a chance to speak with the accuser, the NFL will likely strengthen their case against Elliott. With a strengthened case, it is hard to imagine that Zeke's suspension will be so much as reduced.

Why even bother with Kessler, then? Well, to bring this to federal court.

With Jeffrey Kessler now in the picture it's clear the NFLPA intend to file a court case against the league right after losing this appeal. There is no telling how this case will go, but in terms of what it means to the football team, it could delay Elliott's suspension to 2018.

This would be similar to what we saw happen with Tom Brady's suspension, as it was delayed a full season before ultimately being upheld.

Regardless of how this ends, it's evident it is going to get messy. Either Ezekiel Elliott is truly guilty, and all of this is for naught, or he is innocent, and Roger Goodell has severely abused his power. Either way, the hiring of Jeffrey Kessler points to this dragging out much longer than some may have initially expected.

Die-hard Cowboys fan from the Northeast, so you know I am here to defend the 'boys whenever necessary. Began writing for a WordPress Cowboys Blog, and have been with ITS since 2016.



  1. Russ_Te

    August 30, 2017 at 4:21 am

    From the Elliott point of view – and I am of the opinion the NFL is way off the ranch by meting out a very stiff penalty in contradiction to the police findings – I believe they are doing everything right, and that these are not negative developments for the upcoming appeal:

    Jones is upset and it’s possible or likely that his legal people, advised Elliott to go aggressive by retaining Kessler:

    – Elliott would ask for the cross-examination, knowing the NFL will block it. It sets up your claim of unfairness, with both the arbitrator and later with a judge.

    (They will get the cross in a lawsuit, and shred the NFL’s “preponderance” basis for their punitive actions, by introducing the same contradictions in the case that caused 0 police charges).

    – For that last reason, plus the fact Kessler is an aggressive SOB, the NFL will already be afraid of a court case it will ultimately look foolish in.

    So it will cave and the suspension will be reduced to 3 or maybe even 2 games at the hearing.

    Elliott will still refuse it and sue. He will play this year and the NFL suspension will lose in court in the off season. There is too much to gut the NFL’s conclusions with.

    I will stand corrected if need be… ;^)

  2. Russ_Te

    August 30, 2017 at 4:23 am

    See if the police had charged but it went hung-jury – or Elliott made a plea deal – 100% different footing for the NFL to write up the accusations they did.

    None of that has happened. Their legal footing sucks and they know it already.

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Report: Free Agent DL David Irving Not in Dallas Cowboys’ 2019 Plans

Jess Haynie



David Irving

The Dallas Cowboys and troubled Defensive Lineman David Irving appear to be at an impasse. According to a report from David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, the team has "no intention" of trying to re-sign Irving and will allow him to become an unrestricted free agent.

Irving started the 2018 season with a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He only appeared in two games after that, registering one sack and four tackles.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: Cowboys have no intention of keeping DT David Irving at this time via @sportsdaydfw

Despite reports of David's ongoing issues with an ankle injury, Dallas never placed him on injured reserve. Then came the reports that Irving was missing practices and team meetings while dealing with personal issues related to the custody of his daughter.

The team stayed pretty mum on the subject of Irving's status throughout the year, falling back on the ankle injury when pushed. But after months, it became clear that either David, the team, or both parties were disinterested in his return to football.

The Cowboys had high hopes after 2017, when Irving posted seven sacks in just eight games. They placed a second-round tender on him last offseason as a restricted free agent and were surely ready to give him a long-term deal if he'd built on that success.

But David's issues, physical or otherwise, have clearly done the opposite.

Dallas is known for working with troubled players, as we've recently seen with Randy Gregory. That they're closing the book on Irving suggests there's an issue with his desire towards football.

It's a sad loss for both. David's potential is enormous, as evidenced by his productivity when he actually does play. But he appears more likely to hit the Commissioner's exempt list in 2019 than the football field, given the reports of multiple failed drug tests over the last year.

Hopefully David Irving can turn things around one day and capitalize on his talent. But if it ever happens, it appears that it won't be with the Dallas Cowboys.

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BREAKING: WR Terrance Williams Gets Dropped by Dallas Cowboys

Jess Haynie



Takeaway Tuesday: What We Learned From Cowboys Loss To Packers
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins

The Dallas Cowboys have ended their six-year relationship with Wide Receiver Terrance Williams. According to multiple sources, they have declined a team option on Williams' contract and he will now be an unrestricted free agent in 2019.

The move will reportedly save the Cowboys $2.25 million in salary space this year.

Williams was the team's third-round pick in 2013 and started 68 of the 83 games he played in. He developed into a solid number-two receiver by the end of his rookie deal in 2016 and was given a new four-year contract that offseason.

David Moore on Twitter

Terrance Williams career w/ the Cowboys is done. Sources say the club has declined the WR's option for 2019, making him a free agent. The move is no surprise. He caught just 2 passes for 18 yards last season. His departure frees up $2.25 million on the cap.

After another decent year in 2017, things took a bad turn for Terrance last season. It started with an offseason arrest for public intoxication that eventually led to a three-game suspension, although Williams served that while on injured reserve.

The Cowboys already appeared to be giving Williams' spot away when they made several offseason acquisitions at WR; Allen Hurns, Michael Gallup, and Tavon Austin all were brought in even before Terrance's arrest.

While Williams did start in two of Dallas' first three games in 2018, he only had three passes his thrown his way. The team finally put him on IR due to ongoing complications with a surgically-repaired foot.

While it didn't end well, Terrance Williams' time in Dallas was ultimately a solid return for a third-round pick. He made a few big plays and was a proficient run-blocker, good enough to start in almost 75% of the team's games since he was drafted.

The Cowboys now hope that another third-round pick, Michael Gallup in 2018, will do bigger and better things.

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A Lot Had to Happen for Amari Cooper to Join the Cowboys

John Williams



Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper was a game changing player from the moment he showed up at The Star in Frisco, Texas. In the first game against the Tennessee Titans, you could just tell that this was a different kind of player. The Cowboys hadn't had a wide receiver with his mixture of size and skill.

Cooper to me showed off the brilliant route running of Cole Beasley, in a body similar to Dez Bryant. Oh, and with 4.4 speed.


But Amari Cooper's presence with the Dallas Cowboys may not have happened in 2018 if any one of a number of dominoes didn't fall during the 2018 offseason and regular season.

Shunned by Sammy

Early in the free agency period, it was reported that the Dallas Cowboys had brought in Sammy Watkins and made him a lucrative offer that would have paid him around $16 million per year, but as Patrik Walker from 247 Sports discussed, he ultimately signed with the Kansas City Chiefs for more guaranteed money.

I recall first the feeling of dread when I heard about the pursuit of Sammy Watkins, immediately followed by relief when I saw that he signed with the Chiefs. I was in the midst of a government mandated internet blackout.

Don't get me wrong, Sammy Watkins is a fine player, but he isn't a $16 million per year player. Aside from his athleticism and size he doesn't really bring much to the table. He was pretty much a younger, and similarly injury prone -- at their respective points in their careers -- as Dez Bryant.

In 2018, Watkins only played in 10 games for the Chiefs and barely passed the 500 yard mark while catching only three touchdowns. Now, he's not the top priority in the Chiefs passing game, but he's not a player that can be relied upon to lead an offense.

Had the Cowboys signed Watkins last offseason, it's highly unlikely that they would have traded a 2019 first round draft pick to add another wide receiver in Amari Cooper.

Dez Bryant Goes Bye-Bye

The next thing that happened that may not have, was the release of long-time Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Dez Bryant. Dez Bryant had been with the team since 2010, when the team made him their first round pick that season. After post really good numbers from 2012-2014, Dez had a drop off in production, mostly due to injuries in the 2015-2017 seasons.

Dez Bryant, a fan favorite, was a player that relied upon his superior athletic ability, physicality, toughness, and ability to get passes in the air that made him special. Injuries to his legs and feet started to rob him of his athletic ability. Combine that with the fact that he and Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott could never really get on the same page when it came to fade routes, traditional or of the back shoulder variety.

Had the Cowboys not made the decision to move on from Bryant, the Cowboys offense would have probably been better the first seven games of the season. They may not have necessitated allocating a first round pick to acquire Cooper and it's possible he gets traded somewhere else or stays in Oakland altogether.

Poor Starts to the Season

The Oakland Raiders went into the 2018 season having made a lot of noise by signing Jon Gruden out of the broadcast booth and trading Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears. After a 1-5 start to their season, the fire sale continued as they put Amari Cooper on the trade block.

The Dallas Cowboys started the season 3-4, but looked much worse on offense than what we could have anticipated. We knew they would take a bit of a step back in the passing game as they were trying to work in new faces, but it was bad for the first seven, and really eight weeks of the season.

The Cowboys went into the season with a plan to use their wide receiver group as a committee to try and fill their needs with several players of varying skill sets. Sounds good in theory, but in practice it was a debacle. Receivers not named Cole Beasley, struggled to get open and the offense was listless through the first two months of the season.

Had either team been better than they were to start the season, the chance of a trade taking place would have been small. Teams like to think they can get by with what they have. Had the Cowboys been 4-3 instead of 3-4, they may have thought they could get by with Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, and Michael Gallup as their lead receivers.

Trade Compensation

It was rumored that prior to the Dallas Cowboys sending their 2019 first round pick to the Oakland Raiders that the Philadelphia Eagles offered a second. The Raiders, who were looking to stock pile picks to rebuild, held out for the first they desired for their former 2x Pro Bowler.

Had the Raiders took the Eagles offer as the best offer on the table at the time, the Cowboys would have missed out on Cooper and likely missed out on the division and the playoffs in 2018. On the flip side, we know how much the Cowboys value their draft picks. We've seen them pass on game changing player who would have cost much less because they value their draft picks and believe in their ability to find difference makers in any round.

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭

The Dallas Cowboys were really fortunate to end up with Amari Cooper. If any of the above things goes differently, it's extremely unlikely that he's wearing a Cowboys uniform in 2018 at all. Now, coming off a 1,000 yard season -- in only 15 games -- and a Pro Bowl appearance, Cooper is set to get paid some big money by the Dallas Cowboys front office. As they get ready to pay Cooper upwards of $16 million a year or more, they should have only one thought on their mind for the good fortune that brought Cooper to Dallas;


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