Ezekiel Elliott has his appeal hearing on Tuesday, August 29. Fans looking for an immediate ruling will be disappointed. Elliott’s six-game suspension is set to start on September 2, while the Cowboys first game takes place September 10.
There is no specific timetable for a ruling, meaning the Cowboys could start the season without an appeal decision. The appeal process does not delay Elliott’s suspension. According to The Washington Post, Elliott would only be able to play while the appeal is ongoing if he obtains a court injunction.
The Star-Telegram notes Elliott and the Cowboys were not pleased with the NFL’s decision to have Harold Henderson overseeing the appeal. Henderson is a former NFL management executive. Henderson denied Elliott’s representation’s request to make Tiffany Thompson available to testify.
The Washington Post reported Elliott is not optimistic the appeal will be overturned. As CBS Sports notes, Henderson did reduce Greg Hardy’s suspension from ten to four games. In the Adrian Peterson case, Henderson upheld his suspension. Cowboys fans looking for a clear precedent from Henderson will find it difficult as his history varies.
CBS Sports details the wide range of possibilities when it comes to a timetable for a decision.
It seems unlikely that Henderson will issue a ruling by Sept. 2, just four days after the hearing, in part because its findings will be heavily scrutinized in a court of law should Henderson deny Elliott’s appeal. This also means that Elliott will be barred from practicing with the team starting on Sept. 2. Additionally, he can’t work out with teammates or have contact with coaches or staff.
There are 12 days between the Aug. 29 hearing and the Sept. 10 season opener, and Henderson has ruled in that time frame in the past. And while Elliott might miss valuable practice time leading up to Sept. 10 Giants game, should Henderson rule before then, Elliott would probably play and be fine given that he has practiced and played with the team the entire preseason.
Elliott was excused from Cowboys practice Monday and Tuesday for his appeal.