The Cowboys were scheduled to play a meaningful preseason game against the Houston Texans on Thursday, and were prepared to enter this exhibition finale without Ezekiel Elliott one way or another. With the game now cancelled, and no actual football standing between the Cowboys and their regular season opener against the Giants on September 10th, even more attention can be brought to Ezekiel Elliott's suspension and ongoing appeal process.
Beginning on Tuesday, Elliott's appeal of the six game suspension he faces to start the season is reportedly expected to last through Thursday now - only further adding to the practice time that Elliott will miss in preparation for the season.
Ezekiel Elliott's appeal of his six-game suspension with the NFL is scheduled to last through Thursday, per a source.
Sure, Elliott likely wouldn't have seen the field against the Texans, but there is still plenty of news surrounding his status on this team after playing Saturday against the Raiders and being excused from practice starting Monday to attend his appeal hearing with Harold Henderson in person.
In the final days leading up to this appeal, optimism was low in Cowboys Nation that this date on the calendar would do little in preventing Elliott from taking this case to court - especially after the hiring of Jeffrey Kessler to defend him like he did Tom Brady, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson.
With Harold Henderson disallowing the most public evidence that Elliott's camp has provided of his innocence during this process, the screenshots, photos, and witness testimonies surrounding accuser Tiffany Thompson, the belief was that Elliott would have to suddenly present new information to this case to have his six game suspension reduced.
If you're searching for any sort of a timetable on Zeke, Greg Hardy's appeal was heard on May 28 and reduced on July 10 (31 business days).
There is nothing definitive on why Elliott's appeal (which was held at an undisclosed New York location and not the league's headquarters) was quickly announced to be entering a second day before yesterday's report that it could stretch into Thursday, but the new information that could be further complicating this process may be that Elliott along with the NFLPA believe there were procedural violations throughout the NFL's 13 month investigation into Ezekiel Elliott.
Since Elliott's suspension was also handed down for "conduct detrimental to the league", it is also fair to say that this broad statement covers quite a lot of ground when it comes to a series of undesirable situations that Zeke has gotten himself into since being drafted by America's Team.
As they should be, these will all be discussed privately between Elliott and Henderson before a decision is made.
Regardless of what the NFL was planning on doing with Elliott's appeal, they could have only hoped that it smoothly put an end to this saga with a result that Cowboys fans would either have to live with or be content with. Elliott's team has taken the fight to the league already though, as the NFLPA also believes Henderson is an unfair arbitrator, and it nearly feels like this case has reached court already.
Before that does become the next step in this ongoing story though, Ezekiel Elliott will spend a few more days testifying to Harold Henderson in an attempt to at least lower a six game suspension that he would have to serve starting the first week of the season. He'll do so with an ever-growing support system that now includes top lawyers, further backing by the union, and a more outspoken Jerry Jones.
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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