Court clears way for Elliott’s suspension.
A federal appeals court cleared the way Thursday for the NFL to impose a six-game suspension on Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott over domestic violence allegations, siding with the league in the latest high-profile fight over its ability to punish players for off-field behavior.
In a 2-1 decision, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel in New Orleans granted the league’s emergency request to set aside an injunction and ordered a district court in Texas to dismiss Elliott’s case.
The NFL announced that the suspension was effective immediately, though further appeals were possible and the Cowboys are not playing this weekend.
“We are currently exploring all of our legal options and will make a decision as to what is the best course of action in the next few days,” Elliott attorney Frank Salzano said.
The Cowboys don’t play again until next Sunday, Oct. 22, at San Francisco. If Elliott’s legal team can’t put the suspension on hold again, he won’t be eligible to play until Nov. 30 at home against Washington, a Thursday night game the week after Thanksgiving. Elliott played the first five games as Dallas went 2-3 in a disappointing start.
Wildfires could alter plans: The NFL is keeping an eye on the wildfires in Northern California and has been exploring options to move Sunday’s game between the host Oakland Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers if it becomes necessary.
Michael Signora, the NFL’s vice president of football communications, said Thursday that the league is getting updates on the situation from both teams and from city officials in Oakland.
“We continue to monitor air quality conditions in the Bay Area and are in close communication with both the Raiders and Chargers, as well as local authorities,” Signora said. “At this point, the game remains scheduled for Sunday in Oakland.”
At least 26 people have died and some 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed by the blazes, which began in California wine country Sunday. An estimated 25,000 people have been driven from their homes.
Oakland, which is some 45 miles south of the fires, has been blanketed by smoke.
Eifert out for season: Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert will miss the rest of the season with a back injury that has put his career in jeopardy.
The fifth-year veteran missed half of last season with ankle and back injuries.
He had surgery on a disc in his back last December. He aggravated it in the second game this season, forcing him to consider another procedure. He’s been inactive for the past three games and was put on injured reserve Thursday.
The Bengals (2-3) are on their bye week. They resume with a game at Pittsburgh (3-2) on Oct. 22.
Indefinite suspension: Suspended cornerback Dominique RodgersCromartie has met with New York Giants coach Ben McAdoo and has been told that his suspension is indefinite.
Players can be suspended a maximum of four weeks under the collective bargaining agreement.
The Giants suspended RodgerCromartie on Wednesday for leaving the team facility before practice. He had been told by McAdoo on Tuesday night that he would be inactive for Sunday night’s game in Denver because he left the bench in the second half of a loss to the Chargers and went to the locker room. He later returned.
MATTHEW EMMONS / USA TODAY SPORTS
Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott faces domestic violence allegations.