NFL to Appeal Injunction of Dallas Cowboys RB Zeke
In response to Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott's preliminary injunction on Friday, blocking the NFL's six-game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy, the league on Monday said it will file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. It's not clear how quickly the appeal will be heard. If Judge Amos Mazzant's decision is overturned, then Elliott's suspension could go into effect immediately. Elliott was eligible to play Sunday against the New York Giants, but without Mazzant's ruling he would have missed the next six games and not been able to return until Nov. 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs. The injunction likely means Elliott will be allowed to play the entire season, but the NFL could ask for an expedited hearing of the appeal. After the Cowboys' 19-3 season-opening win against the Giants, Elliott spoke to reporters for the first time since June and expressed relief that he would get "a chance to prove my innocence." He said he was "just happy that I'll get to be with the guys for as long as permitted and not miss time and not having to be away from them." A former girlfriend accused Elliott of domestic violence on separate occasions in July 2016 in Columbus, Ohio. The city attorney's office did not pursue charges against Elliott, citing inconsistent evidence. The NFL's personal conduct policy does not require the same burden of proof for a player to be found in violation. In levying its suspension, the league said it had persuasive evidence Elliott committed violence against Tiffany Thompson on multiple occasions. NFL appeals officer Harold Henderson denied Elliott's appeal, but Mazzant blocked the penalty. "Just kind of your name getting dragged through the mud," Elliott said Sunday, when asked what the most difficult part of the process has been. "It's been 14 months. Just kind of being associated with that, that's tough." If Elliott's suspension is put into effect, the Cowboys would go with Darren McFadden, Alfred Morris and Rod Smith at running back. Morris served as Elliott's backup Sunday, and McFadden was a healthy scratch for the first time in his career even though the Cowboys prepared him all summer to be Elliott's replacement.