Ezekiel Elliott will play Sunday afternoon against the Kansas City Chiefs after all. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted Elliott an administrative stay Friday morning, clearing the way for the running back to play before the court hears arguments in his appeal next week.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Failla issued a decision Monday that would've otherwise required Elliott to begin serving his six-game suspension stemming from domestic violence allegations made by his ex-girlfriend, Tiffany Thompson, immediately.
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In its short decision granting the stay, the court was careful to note that "the issuance of an administrative stay does not constitute a resolution on the merits."
Next week, Elliott's lawyers will ask a three-judge panel in the 2nd Circuit to grant an injunction that will allow Elliott to play throughout his appeal of Failla's decision. Failla disagreed with the defense's claims that Elliott would be irreparably harmed by missing games if his suspension was eventually overturned. Failla also dismissed the defense's argument that NFL arbitrator Harold Henderson's decision to excuse Thompson and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell from testifying at Elliott's league appeal hearing amounted to fundamental unfairness.
Elliott's threat of suspension comes during a dangerous stage of the season. As things stand, he would return with two games left in the regular season were he to begin serving his suspension when the Cowboys take on the Falcons a week from Sunday. But if the 2nd Circuit takes a couple of weeks to act before eventually siding with Failla, Elliott could easily miss the end of the regular season.
Any potential Cowboys playoff games might be in jeopardy, too. Despite language in the initial notice of suspension sent to Elliott by the NFL saying that the suspension was for "six regular-season games," the league said Friday the Elliott's suspension would run through the playoffs, if he hasn't served the full six games and the Cowboys are still playing.