LANDOVER, Md. — Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will not fly back to Dallas with his teammates after Sunday’s 33-19 win against the Washington Redskins. Instead he will head to New York to attend a preliminary injunction hearing that could decide whether he remains on the field for the rest of the season or is forced to miss the next six games.
Elliott attended a similar hearing in Sherman, Texas, before the season started when he first appeared at a preliminary injunction that was eventually vacated by the appellate court.
“We’re confident in our argument,” Elliott said. “We’re confident that I’ll be on the field for the rest of the year.”
Elliott and the Cowboys could have their answer early in the week, depending on when Judge Katherine Fallia rules. If Elliott does not win the injunction, he could appeal to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to continue to play.
“I mean it’s really out of my hands,” Elliott said. “There’s nothing more I can control. Just trust my legal team that they’re going to do their job and make sure I’m on the field next week.”
Elliott has said he is fighting for his name after the NFL handed down a six-game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy with what the league believes is persuasive evidence that he committed domestic violence against a former girlfriend in July 2016. The Columbus, Ohio, authorities did not press charges against Elliott.
The court fight now is more about the process involved that led Commissioner Roger Goodell to levy a suspension.
“What is important is he gets a fair shake,” owner and general manager Jerry Jones said. “Zeke has in no way, by any standard in this country, done anything wrong. He’s done nothing wrong. We, the league, have tried to say he’s done something we disagree with. We all don’t agree with that. I want him to get a fair shot. He deserves that. As a matter of fact every one of us that is a part of this league, if all of a sudden, we are called to be accountable. … We don’t have the system in place for this and we’re trying to make one up in a few short months and it’s got too many ways to not be fair to a person like Zeke.”
Elliott said his focus Sunday was on the field; not Monday’s hearing. He carried a career-high 33 times for 150 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ win against Washington. He has gone for more than 100 yards in three straight games and said the offense is in a groove that resembles 2016 when he led the NFL in rushing with 1,631 yards.
“That’s our job, to check everything at the door,” Elliott said. “I’ve said this before but ownership, the coaching staff, my teammates have played a big role just allowing me to be able to focus on this game and focus on what I need to be for this team and I thank them for that.”
If Elliott has to start his suspension immediately, he would not return until Dec. 17 at the Oakland Raiders with three games to play. The Cowboys have Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden and Rod Smith ready in case they don’t have Elliott.
“We have a great running back room. I’m not too worried about the guys who are behind me,” Elliott said. “There are a lot of great running backs behind me. All three of them can go be starters anywhere. I have a lot of confidence in the guys in that room and I have a lot of confidence in this team.”