Inquiring minds want to know: What’s going on with Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension appeal?
The case apparently hit another snag Tuesday. Former NFL executive Harold Henderson, who was appointed to hear the appeal, said early Tuesday that he planned to give a ruling by the end of the business day.
Hours later, multiple reports suggested the “volume of material” in the case cast uncertainty over whether a decision would be made.
Harold Henderson did tell sides he's trying to get Zeke decision done today, source said -- but due to volume of material, nothing certain.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 5, 2017
My understanding is Harold Henderson informed NFLPA he wanted to decide Elliott appeal today but volume of material for review might delay— Ed Werder (@EdwerderRFA) September 5, 2017
Henderson, who most notably heard Greg Hardy’s appeal in 2015 (and shortened Hardy’s suspension from 10 games to four), has known the “volume of material” since a three-day appeal hearing last week.
Nonetheless, the clock struck 6 p.m. ET with no decision from Henderson.
Still, a report surfaced Tuesday evening that Elliott would play in the Cowboys' season opener even if Henderson announces a ruling. Mike Fisher with 105.3 The Fan wrote on Twitter that U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant asked the NFL if Elliott would play regardless of a ruling, and Fisher says the answer was "yes."
It was reported early Tuesday that, if a decision wasn't made by 4 p.m. Tuesday, Elliott would likely play Sunday. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, though, that deadline was related to pay, and not to eligibility.
Clarity: 4 pm Tues deadline for Zeke Elliott relates to salary. If he’s on the roster past 4 pm, he gets paid. Doesn’t guarantee eligibility— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 5, 2017
Elliott’s legal team filed a lawsuit in federal court on Sept. 1, asking Henderson to vacate all punishment.
Elliott and NFL Players Association representatives showed up for the first scheduled hearing concerning the lawsuit Tuesday evening in Sherman, with no decision from Henderson.
Jeff Kessler, Heather McPhee and others from NFLPA/Team Zeke have arrived for the 5 p.m. hearing. No Harold Henderson appeal decision yet.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) September 5, 2017
According to Clarence Hill with the Star-Telegram, the 22-year-old’s defense team was not pleased with the delay from Henderson.
“Suspect it’s a tactic,” Hill tweeted.
Elliott defense team is not happy about the Henderson delay. Suspect it's a tactic.— Clarence Hill Jr (@clarencehilljr) September 5, 2017
Last month, Elliott appealed a six-game suspension that stems from domestic violence allegations made against him in July of 2016. After a 13-month investigation, the league came to the conclusion that Elliott had caused physical harm to the accuser.
Six games is the NFL's standard punishment for a first-time domestic violence offense.
Even if Henderson comes to a decision to suspend Elliott, Zeke would still be eligible to play in the Cowboys’ season opener if Judge Mazzant grants the restraining order.