Here’s the news.
Regardless of the rest of the confusion surrounding his ongoing conflict with the NFL, one thing became clear Tuesday evening – Ezekiel Elliott is eligible to play Sunday night against the New York Giants.
That was one of just several developments to come out of a two-hour court hearing in Sherman, Texas, on Tuesday, as Elliott and his legal team sought a temporary injunction to block the six-game suspension he was given by the NFL on Aug. 11.
That suspension isn’t slated to go into effect in Week 1, however, as NFL representation allowed Tuesday that the timing of the appeal and the decision put undue burden on the Cowboys. As it stands right now, Elliott is permitted to play Sunday against the Giants, with his suspension to go into effect the following week.
Of course, that itself won’t be the end of the story. Elliott’s representatives put out a strongly-worded statement toward Henderson following the ruling, re-affirming their desire to see the matter through in court.
It read: “We received Arbitrator Harold Henderson’s decision to uphold Mr. Elliott’s suspension of six games. We are extremely disappointed with Mr. Henderson’s inability to navigate through league politics, and follow the evidence, and, most importantly, his conscience. The evidence that Mr. Elliott and his team presented on appeal clearly demonstrated that Mr. Elliott was the victim of a conspiracy orchestrated by the National Football League and its officers to keep exonerating evidence from the decision-makers, including the advisors and Roger Goodell. The only just decision was to overturn the suspension in its entirety. Mr. Elliott is looking forward to having his day in federal court where the playing field will be level and the NFL will have to answer for its unfair and unjust practices.”
Judge Amos Mazzant, who heard the arguments for and against Elliott’s temporary restraining order, said he’ll have a ruling on the matter by 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 8. That decision will affect whether Elliott is suspended following Week 1, or whether the suspension will be stayed while the case proceeds, allowing Elliott to continue to play.
This is the most thorough article we’ve read so far on the situation. It’s now an escalating war between the NFLPA and the Commissioner’s office.
The NFLPA’s court filing calls the NFL’s appeal process fundamentally unfair and cites the testimony during the appeal hearing of Kia Wright Roberts, the league’s director of investigations. Roberts reportedly testified that she interviewed Elliott’s accuser and would not have recommended discipline against Elliott. The NFLPA contends that Roberts was kept from conveying that conclusion to Goodell and the outside advisers consulted by Goodell in the case.
The league maintains that Goodell was aware of Roberts’s reservations but made his disciplinary decision based on the totality of the evidence. The NFLPA, in its court filing, also cites Henderson’s denial of the union’s request to have Elliott’s accuser testify at the appeal hearing.
The league had filed a motion opposing the NFLPA’s request for a temporary restraining order and asking the court to dismiss the union’s underlying case.
The NFLPA never has regarded Henderson as a neutral arbitrator, given his status as a former league employee. The union has sought to reduce Goodell’s role in the player disciplinary process and have players’ appeals of disciplinary measures taken by the league resolved by an outside arbitrator.
Sports’ Illustrated’s legal analyst provides a rundown of the opposing arguments in Ezekiel Elliott’s appeal.
Drawing on its 2016 legal victory over Tom Brady, the NFL late Monday asked U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant, III, to deny Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott’s motion for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and to dismiss Elliott’s accompanying lawsuit. Elliott’s motion for a TRO was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas last Friday, a day after Elliott—suspended for the first six games of the season by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell—filed a lawsuit demanding that the court vacate an anticipated arbitration award.
The pending “award” is in the hands of NFL hearing officer Harold Henderson. Last week, Henderson, the former NFL executive vice president for labor relations, functioned as an arbitrator in reviewing testimony and evidence connected to Tiffany Thompson’s domestic violence claims against Elliott. Henderson is expected to soon issue a decision that will sustain, reduce or vacate Elliott’s suspension.
Crucially, there is no set day by which Henderson must rule. The collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA doesn’t stipulate such a timeline. Henderson’s record is mixed as to how long it takes him to rule. In 2014, Henderson took eight days to review Adrian Peterson’s appeal, but a year later Henderson took 43 days to review Greg Hardy’s appeal.
Jerry Jones is trying to restrain himself from commenting on the Elliott case, but he can’t avoid it.
“I know the facts,” Jones said on his 105.3 The Fan radio show Tuesday. “Those are one thing that this situation reeks of is, of course, just the perception, so all of that has to be factored in. Two years ago, or a year and a half ago, Zeke wouldn’t even be involved with the issue of domestic violence as far as the NFL is concerned. So just think about that one.
“And when you get into definitions, I don’t want to in any way look like that [we should] go light on the gravity of the situation and the victim. But we all can see trying to figure out victims in these ‘he said, she said’ things are tough.”
The news in this article is about who will play Sunday.
Jones said that Tyrone Crawford will be good to go for the opener against the Giants. After sitting out most of training camp with an injury to his ankle that at first looked much worse than it was, the presence of the veteran Crawford is a nice plus for the Cowboys defense. Jones also said that Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods should also be ready to play, but wasn’t so sure about Jourdan Lewis.
With a week to go, we still don’t know who will start at left guard for Dallas. Do the Cowboys prefer Green because he’s signed for two years, while Cooper is only signed for one?
“We’ll see how we practice this week with [Chaz] Green and [Jonathan] Cooper,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said on DFW’s 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday. “Green has been a little bit off and on relative to his health status. If he’s solid, and we have every reason to think he would be, then he’s probably a little ahead. But Cooper is really in a good position, can play position flex both at center and guard. That will be important to us when we look at our active roster. So I would say let’s look at the week’s work, and it is that close.”
It may not matter. Even if Green starts, will he finish the game? Cooper would certainly be active as the swing guard/center and be ready to go if something happens.
Kellen Moore is back. But his role is still unclear.
The Cowboys now have two quarterbacks behind starter Dak Prescott, but head coach Jason Garrett on Monday did not confirm rookie Cooper Rush would open the season in the No. 2 role.
“We’ll work that out as the week goes on,” Garrett said.
Click on the link to find out where the prognosticators have started Dallas on the weekly rankings lists.
Here's a rundown of 10 power rankings published heading into Week 1 and their take on where the Cowboys rank this year. A little further down you can see how that compares to the rest of the NFC East.
Despite Dallas coming out pretty well in the initial power rankings, the Sports Illustrated NFL predictions leave the Dallas Cowboys out in the cold next February. Three SI writers have the Cowboys reaching the NFC championship but three others have them missing the playoffs and none predict a Cowboys’ Super Bowl. This is surprising?
The disrespect doesn’t end there, either. Not one Cowboys’ player or coach is a predicted winner of the league’s seven major awards, including MVP, offensive and defensive players of the year and coach of the year.
Looking back to last year, this Giants writer is hoping for more big plays. Snapshots included.
Surprisingly, the Giants were actually in third-and-6 or fewer yards eight of their 14 opportunities. The point isn’t to review plays the team didn’t make last year, but rather to show how many big plays could be available to the team on Sunday night if they can put themselves into third and manageable distance.
Last year the questions surrounded Dak Prescott making his regular season debut. This year might be a lot clearer.
“You’re starting with a rookie quarterback against a really good football team in Week 1,” Garrett said. “There’s a lot of uncertainty going into that game. But there was also a lot of reason for confidence, based on what we had seen up to that point. Felt really good about how Dak had handled everything. Every meeting, every walkthrough, every practice and the game opportunity we had had up to that point. We felt good about it. We knew it was his first start. We knew what those challenges were. We certainly tried to help him, as best we could like we would any quarterback, or any young player. Again, he handled it well. He did a lot of good things in that first game. It was good to see him get that experience under his belt.”
Prescott nearly put the Cowboys in position to attempt a game-winning field goal in the final seconds but Terrance Williams did not get out of bounds, allowing the clock to run out.
The Buffalo Bills signed former Cowboys defensive tackle Cedric Thornton on Tuesday. Any salary he earns will be credited to the Dallas cap next year.
"Cedric, he's a good person," [Stephen] Jones said Monday on 105.3 The Fan's G-Bag Nation show [KRLD-FM]. "He represents all you want. He played hard, a lot of things the right way. It just turned out wasn't the perfect fit for our system."
Thornton signed with Dallas in 2016 on a four-year, $17 million contract with $9 million guaranteed.
Archer’s Five Wonders. Here’s number four.
I more than wonder if the Cowboys kept only eight defensive linemen because Damontre Moore will be back in two weeks. But here’s the real wonder: I wonder who will be the odd man out when it is time for Moore to occupy a spot on the 53-man roster? It could be Charles Tapper, last year’s fourth-round pick who did not play a snap because of a back injury. Jason Garrett’s responses this summer about Tapper have been tepid. They like him. They believe he has skill, but he can’t stay healthy long enough to get a true evaluation.
We’ll end with Sullivan’s annual predictions post. He’s always an entertaining read.
Dak throws for more yards, more touchdowns and, yes, more interceptions than his historic rookie campaign. He also rushes for more yards. No one surprised me more during training camp and the preseason. His arm strength is significantly improved, he’s connecting on at least 20 percent more of his practice targets. And his arm slot, his delivery, looks slightly higher, too. Only reason he’s going to throw more picks, besides that four was ridiculous, is because he’s going to take more chances downfield. I’m thinking 4,058 passing yards and 31 touchdown tosses, eight interceptions and 352 rushing yards.
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