The Ezekiel Elliott saga continues. Less than 24 hours after the Dallas Cowboys defeated the  New York Giants in Week 1, the NFL announced it would file an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit regarding the running back’s six-game suspension.

Elliott was allowed to play in Sunday night’s 2017 season opener and his suspension was put on hold after a district court judge granted the second-year player a preliminary injunction last week. Three days after Judge Amos Mazzant called the process by which Elliott was suspended “fundamentally unfair,” the league is trying to get Elliott off the field.

What does this mean for Elliott’s immediate playing future? Probably nothing, at least as far as this season is concerned.

The appeals process is a long one, and it could take several months before the case is decided. Even though the NFL is expected to win the appeal, the likelihood is that it won’t happen until the 2018 offseason.


That’s essentially what happened with Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension. The New England Patriots quarterback was suspended for four games in the 2015 offseason, but a judge nullified the punishment just days before the start of the season. The NFL filed a motion for an appeal on Sept. 25, 2016, and the U.S. Second Circuit Court of appeals reversed the judge’s decision on April 15, 2016.

Brady served his four-game suspension to start the 2016 season. Expect Elliott to serve his six-game suspension to start the 2018 season.

Elliott’s suspension came as the result of a 14-month investigation by the NFL into domestic violations allegations by the running back’s ex-girlfriend. Elliott was never charged with a crime, and he’s maintained his innocence.

“Just kind of your name getting dragged through the mud,” Elliott told reporters when asked what the most difficult part of the process has been. “It's been 14 months. Just kind of being associated with that, that's tough.”

“I've kind of stopped worrying about it because it's not in my hands. At this point I'm focused right now on being the running back I need to be for this team to be successful so we can accomplish what we want to, and remaining focused to keep playing at a high level.”

Ezekiel Elliott Dallas Cowboys Ezekiel Elliott, pictured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders at AT&T Stadium on Aug. 26, 2017 in Arlington, Texas, should play every game of the Dallas Cowboys' 2017 season. Photo: Getty Images

While being investigated by the NFL in 2016, Elliott had one of the best rookie seasons in the history of the league. He was the NFL’s No.1 rusher by a wide margin, totaling 1,631 yards on the ground and 15 touchdowns.

Elliott had 24 rushes for 104 yards and five receptions for 36 yards in Sunday’s 19-3 win over the Giants. The Cowboys are now 14-3 with Elliott on the field in the regular season.

Brady and the Patriots were defeated in the AFC Championship Game during the 2015 season, though New England won last year’s Super Bowl after the quarterback served his suspension. Dallas led the NFC with 13 wins last year and they are among the favorites to win the title this season.