After Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s playing status had been reversed seven times in three states in a process that featured nine different judges, Elliott’s agents announced Wednesday that the Cowboys running back will drop his appeal and serve his six-game suspension. He will be eligible to return against the Seahawks in Week 16 on Christmas Eve.
Big news: #Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is withdrawing his appeal, his agents Rocky Arceneaux and Frank Salzano tell me. Elliott will serve his full 6-game suspension. The statement: pic.twitter.com/BV3jPyX4ap— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 15, 2017
Elliott was suspended for six games in August after an NFL investigation found evidence that he committed domestic violence against Tiffany Thompson on multiple occasions in July 2016. Elliott was not charged with a crime for the alleged incidents.
“This decision is in no way an admission of any wrongdoing,” read the statement drafted by Elliott’s agents. “And Mr. Elliott is pleased that the legal fight mounted by he and his team resulted in disclosing many hidden truths regarding this matter as well publicly exposing the NFL’s mismanagement of its disciplinary process.”
Elliott was set to serve four games of his suspension before an appeal hearing on December 1. By dropping the appeal, Elliott is conceding the final two games as well. He left the country to train in an undisclosed location after his suspension was instituted ahead of the Cowboys’ tilt against the Falcons, and is expected to release a statement before returning to the field, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Elliott is not allowed in the Cowboys facility or to have contact with the organization during his suspension.
Without Elliott (and Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith), Alfred Morris stepped into the primary running back role on Sunday and rushed 11 times for 53 yards in a 27-7 loss to Atlanta. Rod Smith rushed three times for 14 yards, and Darren McFadden lost 2 yards on his lone carry.
Elliott dropping his appeal marks another legal victory for commissioner Roger Goodell in federal court and further solidifies the league’s wide-ranging powers under the current collective bargaining agreement, which was negotiated in 2011. Elliott’s case was most recently in the Southern District of New York, the same jurisdiction where the league prevailed in the Deflategate legal saga, when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was suspended for four games.