One of the National Football League’s longest-running disciplinary sagas took another twist on Friday, after Ezekiel Elliott was granted a delay in his suspension for domestic violence allegations dating back to July 2016.
Elliott, the Dallas Cowboys running back, was originally suspended for six games back in August, but the implementation of the NFL’s ruling has been held up by a series of appeals. The suspension was scheduled to begin this week, but the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overruled that on Friday, the Associated Press reported. Elliott’s ban will now likely begin in Week 9, when the Cowboys are scheduled to face the Atlanta Falcons in Arlington.
The short of a very long and increasingly convoluted saga: Elliott can suit up for the Cowboys’ Week 8 game at home against the Kansas City Chiefs, which appears critical in their chase for a playoff spot in the NFC.
Elliott has continued to prove crucial to the Cowboys’ offense amid conjecture as to when his suspension will begin. He gained 147 yards on the ground in the Cowboys’ blowout of the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on October 22, and followed it up with 150 rushing yards against the Redskins last week. Elliott has run for fewer than 80 yards once this season, against the Broncos on September 17. An effective Elliott opens up the passing game for Dak Prescott. In that Broncos game, a 42-17 defeat, Elliott carried just nine times for eight yards. The Broncos, no one’s idea of a good offensive team, held the ball for 33 minutes and 50 seconds, according to NFL.com.
The Cowboys ride a two-game winning streak into Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, who hold a commanding lead in the AFC West. While Andy Reid’s team rushes the quarterback effectively and has a shutdown cornerback in Marcus Peters, there is a soft underbelly to its defense. The Chiefs have reached 6-2 despite a 28th-ranked rushing defense. The uncertainty around Elliott’s status also has the potential to upset Reid’s plans. Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton would have been forgiven for expecting a load of Prescott with a dash of Alfred Morris. Now the Chiefs have to scramble to scheme for the NFL’s premier running back.
The Cowboys have Elliott on the field, for one more week at least. And the Chiefs may be cursing their luck.
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