Speculation over Ezekiel Elliott's potential suspension ramped up again Monday in the aftermath of claims made by Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter that led to a response by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
The NFL's investigation into domestic violence allegations against Elliott has lasted 13 months, extending well past an already closed criminal investigation.
During a segment of Undisputed on Fox, Carter said that sources close to the investigation told him that Elliott is going to be suspended within the next two days and that he might be suspended for longer than anyone anticipated.
"In the next 48 hours, I would be shocked if Zeke was not suspended,” he said, adding that “based on the information that’s going to come out, it’s going to be fairly easy to determine that something happened to this woman in her four days of being with Zeke."
Carter added that the incident was "either assault or domestic violence. I’m being sensitive because there is a victim here."
Carter also alluded to the fact that Elliott might have destroyed evidence related to allegations made against him by Tiffany Thompson. He compared this aspect of the case to that of Tom Brady, whom the NFL suspended for four games after he destroyed his cellphone in the wake of the deflated ball controversy that marred the New England Patriots' 2014 AFC championship victory.
Elliott, Carter said, could be looking at a suspension of at least that length. "When the information comes out, there's going to be some similarities [between the Brady and Elliott cases] as far as what happened," Carter said. "Information that he might have been advised to give up that was destroyed."
Late Monday afternoon, Goodell commented publicly on the investigation into the Cowboys' star running back, which has lasted 13 months. He took issue with Carter's assertions. “I don’t think Cris has anything to do with the decision. We haven’t made any decisions yet,” the commissioner told Newsday's Bob Glauber.
Carter's and Goodell's comments come on the heels of a weekend when the Cowboys seemed eager to put the Elliott saga to bed. During his Hall of Fame weekend, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made it very clear he does not believe Elliott is going to be suspended. At Thursday night's Hall of Fame game between the Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, Jones told NBC's broadcast crew that "the domestic violence is not an issue" with regard to allegations made against Elliott by Thompson, his ex-girlfriend.
At a Friday press conference, Jones was explicit, saying that he "does not anticipate" Elliott will be suspended despite the NFL investigation into Thompson's claims.
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The only reason the league hasn't announced that it's cleared Elliott, Jones said, is because it's looking at several other incidents involving the running back — including, presumably, his decision to pull down a woman's top at a Dallas St. Patrick's day parade in March and the July fight at Clutch in Uptown in which Elliott reportedly played a part.
Prosecutors in Ohio declined to pursue charges against Elliott based on Thompson's allegations, citing conflicting evidence. Witnesses reported Thompson screaming at Elliott that she would ruin his life and that she got the injuries she claimed Elliott inflicted on her in a bar fight, according to evidence released after the Columbus, Ohio, City Attorney's Office concluded its investigation into the matter. Thompson also asked a friend to lie to the police about Elliott, according to text messages released in the case.
After Carter's statements Monday, Elliott's father, Stacy Elliott, took to Twitter, seemingly to imply that Carter is part of a nefarious plot against his son.
All your lies and plots will fail! I don't speak out of emotions! I speak out of actual facts! So ready for the show down!— Ambassador Elliott (@stacy_elliott) August 7, 2017