League can suspend Elliott
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.
A federal appeals court cleared the way Thursday for the NFL to impose a sixgame suspension on Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott over domestic violence allegations, siding with the league in the latest highprofile fight over its ability to punish players for offfield 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.
Further appeals were possible. One of Elliott's representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
A federal judge in Texas issued the injunction blocking the suspension last month, agreeing with NFL players' union attorneys who argued that the investigation of the allegations in Ohio and a subsequent appeal were unfair to Elliott, one of the league's standout running backs.
The NFL countered that it followed procedures under the league's labor deal and that the union improperly filed a lawsuit before the appeals process was complete.
The most likely destination for further legal challenges from players' union attorneys representing Elliott is with the Southern District of New York. The NFL filed in that federal court after Elliott's NFL appeal was denied by arbitrator Harold Henderson last month.
If Elliott's legal team can't put the suspension on hold again, it can begin Oct. 22 at San Francisco and Elliott 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. The Cowboys are not playing this weekend.
Last year's NFL rushing leader as a rookie, Elliott was suspended in August by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations in the summer of 2016 with Tiffany Thompson, his girlfriend at the time.
Raiders-Chargers game may be affected by wildfires
The NFL is keeping an eye on the wildfires in Northern California and has been exploring options to move Sunday's game between the 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.
If the NFL decides that conditions in Oakland are too unhealthy to play Sunday, the Raiders game could be moved to Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has also offered up Qualcomm Stadium, where the Chargers used to play before relocating to Los Angeles this year.
The fires aren't far from Napa, where the Raiders have held training camp since 1996, one year after late owner Al Davis moved the team back to Oakland from Los Angeles.
The smoky conditions have forced the Raiders to alter their outdoor schedule this week. Practice times have been changed to limit the effect on the players.
"We've done our best to stay as in-routine as we can," offensive coordinator Todd Downing said. "Coach (Jack Del Rio) has done an awesome job of adjusting where he's needed to but we feel like we're putting together a good week of prep."
Bengals TE Tyler Eifert out for season
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.
The Bengals made him the 21st overall choice in the 2013 draft, hoping his pass receiving skills would upgrade their offense. He's been one of Andy Dalton's favorite targets, especially near the goal line, but has been severely limited by injuries in three of his five seasons.
He had his best season in 2015, caching 52 passes for 615 yards and 13 touchdowns, a franchise record for a tight end.
He made the Pro Bowl that season and tore a ligament in his ankle during the game, requiring surgery. He returned and played in eight games, making 29 catches for 394 yards and five touchdowns, but an injured back disc ended the season and resulted in more surgery.
He played in the first two games this season and had four catches for 46 yards. He aggravated the back in the second game and came off the field. He wasn't able to practice and was inactive for the past three games.
Landry critical of fans lobbying for Cutler's benching
Miami Dolphins receiver Jarvis Landry lashed out Thursday at fans who lobbied for quarterback Jay Cutler to be benched, saying they're an embarrassment to players.
Cutler drew jeers while struggling through much of the Dolphins' 2017 home debut Sunday, before his fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Landry helped beat the Tennessee Titans 16-10.
The crowd chanted repeatedly for backup quarterback Matt Moore.
"Jay is our quarterback, and we stand by him," Landry said.
"We don't buy into the fans — 'Who do you want to play quarterback?' I believe it's disrespectful. A man who comes out here and works his butt off, for people to not understand what's going on, or not to have even touched the field before ... They don't understand the situation.
"It's embarrassing as a player to have fans like that. It's embarrassing."
Cutler threw for only 92 yards, although by coach Adam Gase's count he had five passes dropped. Cutler's passer rating ranks 30th in the NFL, and the Dolphins (2-2) have scored only three offensive touchdowns this season.
They play at Atlanta on Sunday.
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.