A moment of surrender came to the Ezekiel Elliott suspension saga, as the second-year Dallas Cowboy running back decided to drop his appeal and serve the remaining five games of his six-game ban.
His lawyers informed both the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals and the NFL of their client’s intentions on Wednesday.
Elliot was penalized for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy after an ex-girlfriend alleged domestic abuse. He fought the automatic suspension on grounds that police investigated her claim but found no reason to press charges. Elliot sued the NFL for an injunction to block the suspension, with the league winning the most recent appeal.
Elliott’s agents, Rocky Arceneaux and Frank Salzano, issued a statement about their client’s decision to change course:
“This decision is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing, and Mr. Elliott is pleased that the legal fight mounted by him and his team resulted in the disclosure of many hidden truths regarding this matter, as well public exposure of the NFL’s mismanagement of its disciplinary process. Mr. Elliott will maximize this time away from the game and come back even stronger both on and off the field.”
Betting Lines Impacted
The news moved the line on Sunday’s Cowboys game against Philadelphia. The Eagles were a 3-point favorite to open but have since moved to a 4-point pick. The over/under went from 47 to anywhere from 48 to 49 points.
The last two weeks should give bettors an indication of what the former Ohio State star means to his team. On Nov. 5, the squad was a 2 1/2-point underdog against the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the best teams in the league. Elliott rushed for 93 yards on 27 carries with a touchdown as the Cowboys upset the Chiefs, 28-17.
Last week, Elliott was forced to sit out when the 2nd US Court of Appeals removed a temporary administrative stay that would have allowed him on the field. The team was a 3 ½-point favorite to last year’s Super Bowl runner-up Atlanta Falcons, but were trounced, 27-7.
Quarterback Dak Prescott told a sports talk radio show that the team will have to adjust to not having their star running back for the next five weeks.
“Nothing changes,” Prescott said. “We believe in our team, we believe in the way our team is built, we believe in all the guys that we have backing up and guys that have to come in and fill in spots. It’s just about focusing on the things we can control and doing the best we can with that. That’s how we handled that whole situation.”
The Cowboys next host Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Chargers, and the Washington Redskins. Of those teams, only the Eagles have a winning record. Dallas then goes on the road to face the hapless New York Giants and struggling Oakland Raiders.
Dallas will try and get through that stretch without Elliott, but their odds to win the Super Bowl have plummeted. They opened at 10-1, but now a 5-4 record and the absence of an effective running game have dropped them to 40-1.
The 22-year-old returns for the final two games of the season against Seattle and Philadelphia. What remains to be seen is if the team is still in the hunt to make the playoffs when Elliot returns.