The question of whether or not Dallas Cowboys running Ezekiel Elliott will serve his six-game suspension just got murkier, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Elliott’s lawyers are working behind the scenes and attempting to reach a settlement with the NFL to have Elliott’s suspension reduced.
“It's unclear how many games they have proposed to the NFL, but neither the league nor the NFLPA intends to settle this case and have Elliott's suspension reduced at this time,” Schefter wrote, citing unnamed sources.
The league hit Elliott with the suspension on August 11 for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy related to domestic violence allegations by his former girlfriend. The Columbus, Ohio, authorities who conducted an investigation based on the claims did not formally charge Elliott with any crime.
Elliott maintained his innocence, and the second-year back was granted a preliminary injunction by a federal judge in Texas on September 8 that allowed him to delay the suspension. Last week, it appeared Elliott and his legal team had exhausted all of their options, as U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla denied their request for a preliminary injunction. But the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Elliott a request for an administrative stay on November 4.
All the legal back and forth isn’t so much about Elliott’s innocence or guilt as it is the process by which the NFL arbitrarily hands down these “personal conduct” suspensions. That process led to drawn out court battles with Ray Rice’s domestic violence suspension, Tom Brady’s “Deflategate” suspension, and several other cases.
While all the legal maneuvering in the case is likely confusing, Elliott will almost certainly start Sunday, as the Cowboys face the Kansas City Chiefs. What happens after Sunday, with Elliott still facing the possibility of missing six games, is anyone’s guess. Schefter speculated Elliott might start serving the suspension as early as this week if the court doesn’t rule in his favor.