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What to Make of Ezekiel Elliott Suspension Rumors

Jess Haynie

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Ezekiel Elliott

As you've likely heard already, there are rumors floating over the last 24 hours about Ezekiel Elliott facing a minor suspension in 2017. While we at Inside The Star don't put much stock in the rumors at this time, it's out there and we need to take a look at it.

While nothing has come from the NFL or the Dallas Cowboys about Elliott missing games, those good ol' "sources" are citing Zeke's alleged domestic violence incident from 2016 as the basis for the suspension.  The NFL has been investigating this matter for almost a year now with no reported updates.

Ezekiel Elliott

RB Ezekiel Elliott

The first ripples in the water started Thursday evening with this Tweet from actor and sports enthusiast Michael Rapaport, who does work with Barstool Sports and has appeared many times on podcasts and other media with "The Sports Guy" Bill Simmons.

MichaelRapaport on Twitter

Sources are telling Zeke Elliot getting suspended for weed & Melo trade is going down today.

While it appears Michael was wrong on both fronts, it's interesting that his tweet came just hours before the Elliott rumors really got cooking. How marijuana got into the picture is unknown, but perhaps the source heard about a Cowboys player being suspended and just assumed it would be weed-related. Given Dallas' recent history, that wouldn't be the worst guess.

Things really heated up when the rumors started being reported yesterday by ESPN's Adam Schefter and other more established NFL news breakers. Now domestic violence and the ongoing investigation entered the picture.

The NFL's domestic violence and personal conduct policies make this a much bigger concern than a drug suspension. Even without a court finding or filed charges, the NFL can still suspend a player if they simply believe something happened. We saw this happen with Greg Hardy just two years ago.

According to ESPN, Elliott is preparing for the worst. With how long things have dragged on, there's a sense that the NFL is desperate to pin something on one of the brightest stars from its most popular franchise. What better way to send a message:

"Here, watch us drop the hammer on a superstar running back. That makes up for what happened with the other running back a few years ago, right? Right?!"

To be fair, the NFL may have some form of evidence that will eventually have a lot of us eating crow. But it's hard to fathom why the league would just keep sitting on any concrete evidence about domestic violence. The only reason I can come up with is that they don't want to repeat the botched handling of Ray Rice, passing one sentence and then having to revise it when new information was made public.

Many Cowboys fans and analysts, including this site, are skeptical. One noted Cowboys reporter made it clear, with these and many other comments yesterday, how he feels:

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

ALERT: Source tells @1053thefan the #Cowboys front office 'is not aware' of a coming @EzekielElliott suspension. Monitoring ...

mike fisher ✭ on Twitter

It would also explain why @AdamSchefter report has more 'coulds,' 'almosts,' 'maybes,' 'kindas' & 'ifs' than my college dating life. https://t.co/q7AS740J83

As we all know, NFL media is desperate for things to report in the doldrums of early summer. While we're not saying that this Elliott story was totally manufactured, did something get blown way out of proportion in that hunger for content? Did a simple comment or speculation become "source" material?

The best thing to do right now, and really all we can do, is wait. Given all the smoke that's now been created, the league may be forced to conclude its investigation before the season starts in less than two months. They don't want to deal with the negative press of having still not resolved this.

What that resolution will mean for Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas Cowboys is our concern at this moment, but let's be clear; we're giving Zeke benefit of the doubt right now. We're giving him the supportive assumption of innocence based on a current lack of evidence and the questionable credibility of his accuser.

If domestic violence is actually proven, and rumors turn into facts, then things change. But the NFL's poor handling of past issues, and the ever-desperate nature of NFL media during these summer months, make them the less believable parties at this time.



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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8 Comments
  • StupidPeopleCrackMeUp

    NFL should’ve been taken care of this situation but now want to wait for the season to start and still can’t give us a definite answer..if there is no proof after all this investigating leave this man alone and let him play football #DC4L

  • Mauricio Rodriguez

    Man, we miss football through all of the offseason and we long for NFL news. But I appreciate more having no news at this point. No news is good news.
    The NFL is either hunting Zeke or doing him a favor by scaring him. If I had to guess, I think they are trying to suspend him though.

    • John Williams

      Yeah, my hope is that this is a scare tactic.

  • ThePsychodad69

    Here’s a link to all the police reportstexts from her friends phone…

    http://www.scribd.com/mobile/document/323284084/Ezekiel-Elliott-case#from_embed

    Basically her “Gravy Train” was over and she didn’t like it.

    If he gets suspended, every swinging duck in the NFL will be at risk to blackmail. Just remember fellas, psychos come in all shapes and sizes. Anyone remember Steve McNair?

    • Don

      I just read the report you posted. This even makes the NFL look even worse for not wrapping this up already.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DallasCowboyBooksBlog fgoodwin

    All we have is speculation so far and darn few facts.

    So let me add to the speculation: I think Zeke is paying for the price for the NFL’s lack of due diligence in the Ray Rice case. The NFL doesn’t want a repeat of that episode, so they are dragging this out as long as possible to give the appearance they are “doing something”.

    I don’t condone domestic violence in any way, but this “investigation” sure looks like a fishing expedition to me.

  • Don

    Well I aired my thoughts on this yesterday on Sean Martins story and his wasn’t even about Zeke. This NFL investigation is pure bogus BS and a joke. If they can’t scrounge up something in over a year to fuel their reasons for discipline then there must not be anything there. The police found nothing and if this is all because of their Ray Rice botching those are totally different situations with video and arrests. Move on…

  • John Williams

    I usually trust Fish when it comes to stuff like this. While a lot of people tend to overreact and freak out a bit when it comes to suspensions, Fish goes to the source and gets the info.

    His tweets make the most sense to me.

    I get it that the NFL has to protect it’s public image, but it seems to me that they go to far sometimes.

    As one person said, maybe it was Marcus Mosher, they may end up with a big race issue on their hands if Elliott gets more of a suspension than Josh Brown from the Giants.

    The fact that a suspension is even being discussed at this point seems ridiculous. Though they don’t need proof that he broke the law to act in the best interest of the league. Just silly that the union will let them get away with it.

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Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Sean Martin

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Despite Late Push in Year One, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See the Field in 2018? 1
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

It feels like ages ago that the Dallas Cowboys spent the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft on Michigan Defensive End Taco Charlton. Perhaps this is a result of the constant distancing fans have made from this unpopular pick, or the corresponding moves the Cowboys have made at DE since drafting Charlton.

These moves include using the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence after seeing him explode for 14.5 sacks, spending a fourth round pick this year on Kansas' Dorance Armstrong, and seeing Randy Gregory reinstated in time for training camp.

Across the entirety of the Cowboys roster, there will be plenty of "odd men out" that miss the cut down to 53 players. Defensive end remains one of the most cluttered spots on the current 90 man roster however.

Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?

Dallas Cowboys DE Taco Charlton, DT Maliek Collins (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News)

Prior to establishing the depth the Cowboys now have up front on defense, they did Taco no favors by starting his career at right defensive end. While Gregory may still be a long way from earning the starting role here, similarly styled players like Armstrong have the edge here over Charlton.

This relegates Charlton to the strong side, where he always projected best out of college. By the time the Cowboys realized this a season ago, they also knew a franchise pass rusher was playing his way into the team's long-term plans.

Lawrence's stellar consistency off the edge reduced Charlton's role in the Cowboys rotation of pass rushers. An ideal spot for the rookie to develop with less pressure on him, Charlton's opportunities to continue playing left end may only be reduced this season.

The first-round pick is capable of kicking inside at defensive tackle, a position the Cowboys could certainly use help at. However, asking Charlton to go through another position shift would only halt the progress that took quite a bit of patience from Dallas to see.

It's far from unheard of for the Cowboys to do this with their young players, but for now Charlton remains a defensive end looking to make his impact. The Cowboys are in much better position now than they were at this time a year ago when it comes to setting expectations for him to do so.

Given everything he showed on tape at Michigan as well as in his pre-draft interviews, Charlton is a player that needs to succeed at the task at hand. When this plan is altered, the 6'6" pass rusher is much less effective -- without even considering any athletic struggles that Charlton has compared to other prototypes at defensive end.

As a unit, the Cowboys defensive line has all the pieces to be very effective this season. Taco Charlton is a piece to this puzzle, a backup left end that must find a way to flourish in this role.

For most former 28th overall picks, doing so would be considered a fall from grace. For the Cowboys, it's simply an example of strong roster building that's forced life to come at Charlton quickly. How he responds with a full season under his belt will make or break the hype this deep Cowboys defensive line has garnered, lead of course by the starter at Charlton's position in DeMarcus Lawrence.

Tell us what you think about "Despite Late Push as Rookie, Will Taco Charlton Struggle to See Field in 2018?" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp

Sean Martin

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Will the Dallas Cowboys "Get Lucky" at Defensive End?

The Dallas Cowboys patience with Defensive End Randy Gregory has paid off. Suspended for the better part of 2016 and all of 2017, Gregory has officially been reinstated to join the team for their 2018 training camp. The projected starter at RDE, Gregory will report to Oxnard with the rest of the team on July 25th.

From here, it will be all hard work for Gregory to reconnect with Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and get his promising career back on track. The last time Gregory suited up for the Cowboys, he managed to sack Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz in a week 17 win. The Cowboys will be expecting much more of this from a player they've supported through multiple violations of the league's heavily criticized substance abuse policy.

Ian Rapoport on Twitter

Cowboys pass-rusher Randy Gregory's petition for reinstatement was not opposed, according to lawyer Daniel Moskowitz. He's back. "I've never been more proud of any individual in my life. I'm very excited for Randy and his daughter and the rest of the his family.

Among this support staff for Gregory were a number of teammates that wrote formal letters to the NFL as part of his bid for reinstatement. These last few days of preparation before the Cowboys are together again as a team will surely be uplifted by Gregory's presence.

They say no news is typically good news at this point in the offseason, something the Cowboys have come to realize far too often. Today's news shouldn't be confused with a pleasant surprise however, rather something the Cowboys were committed to in getting another premier pass rusher on the field.

Here is the NFL's official press release on their reinstatement of Randy Gregory:

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

Sean Martin ✭ on Twitter

https://t.co/za0u3lWgaY

Tell us what you think about "Cowboys DE Randy Gregory Reinstated, Will Join Team for Training Camp" in the comments below. You can also email me at Sean.Martin@InsideTheStar.com, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!



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Cowboys & DeMarcus Lawrence Fail to Reach New Contract

Jess Haynie

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Which 2018 Free Agents Will The Cowboys Retain? 1
Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportwire

DeMarcus Lawrence will definitely be a Cowboy in 2018, but now the future  beyond that remains in question. The Dallas Cowboys and their star defensive end did not agree to a long-term contract by today's deadline for franchise-tagged players.

According to NFL rules, teams had until 4:00 pm EST today to reach contract extensions with free agents who'd been assigned the franchise tag earlier this offseason. Players who did not get new deals will have to play the 2018 season on their one-year franchise tenders.

Jon Machota on Twitter

DeMarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys were unable to work out a long-term contract by today's deadline. Lawrence will play the 2018 season under a one-year franchise tag that will pay him $17.1 million

This does not mean Lawrence will be a free agent in 2019. The two parties can still discuss the contract in the months to come, but the deal cannot be made until after the end of the regular season.

Dallas also has the option of giving DeMarcus a second franchise tag next year. However, that would come at a considerably higher price for a second-straight season.

This year, Lawrence will still make plenty with one of the highest cap hits of any DE in the league. He earned the franchise tag last with 14.5 sacks in a breakout season.

Today's news may not really be a big deal in the long run. As long as Tank wants to stay in Dallas after this, the two sides now have over five months to keep talking and will hopefully agree on a new deal for 2019 and beyond.

There is risk on both sides, of course.

Lawrence's leverage could be less if his productions drops or he gets injured. On the other hand, his position could be even stronger with a second-straight year of strong play.

Now everyone, from the team to player to fans, is in wait-and-see mode until the end of the season.



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