An exhausting legal fight that droned on for months between Ezekiel Elliott and the NFL is finally over.
Elliott’s agents said the Dallas Cowboys running back was dropping his legal fight and will serve the full six-game suspension originally handed down to Elliott in August stemming from a domestic violence case in 2016.
In the statement Elliott’s agents made it clear he wasn’t admitting to any wrongdoing. He dropped it due to “a practical assessment of the current legal landscape” and his desire for closure in the matter.
And once again, the NFL has defeated a player in court. Commissioner Roger Goodell’s power remains intact. Elliott was able to play for half the season while the matter worked its way through the courts, but just like Tom Brady’s infamous deflate-gate case, the issue was that the players gave Goodell practically unlimited power in the current collective-bargaining agreement. That’s what ultimately defeated the attempts to fight the punishments in court.
While it’s not entirely surprising that Elliott will be out the next five games (he served the first game last week, and the Cowboys lost to the Atlanta Falcons), it’s still a major blow to Dallas. Elliott, the 2016 NFL rushing champ, can return for the second-to-last game of the season. The question is whether the Cowboys will have much to play for at that point. They’re already three games behind the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East, and play the Eagles on Sunday night without Elliott.
Dallas was blown out without Elliott last week, but they were without other stars like left tackle Tyron Smith and linebacker Sean Lee, too. Alfred Morris filled in decently enough for Elliott, with 53 yards on 11 carries, but he’s not the dominating force Elliott is. The Cowboys could stay in the playoff race without Elliott — their next five games are vs. Philadelphia, vs. the Chargers, vs. Washington, at the Giants and at Oakland — but it will be a lot more difficult. However, the Cowboys have known since early August that this was possible.
Elliott will be back this season, after he misses five more games. At least we’ve finally heard the last of his court battle with the league.