The NFL's ruling is in and Cowboys fans won't like it: Running back Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
The suspension stems from an incident that took place more than a year ago. Elliott's ex-girlfriend accused him of domestic violence, and though the legal charges haven't been pursued, the NFL can still conduct its own investigation and discipline the player.
Elliott will likely appeal, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. The hearing would be scheduled some time in the next two weeks.
Dallas has four tough games in its first six: vs. the Giants on Sunday Night Football in Week 1, at Denver and at Arizona the next two weeks, and a home game with Green Bay in Week 5.
The Eagles face the Cowboys in Weeks 11 and 17.
Below is the NFL's statement:
Over the course of the last year, the league conducted an extensive investigation. League investigators interviewed more than a dozen witnesses, including Ms. Tiffany Thompson, who had alleged multiple instances of physical violence in July 2016, and Mr. Elliott. The league also consulted with medical experts. League investigators examined all available evidence, including photographic and digital evidence, thousands of text messages and other records of electronic communications.
Pursuant to the Personal Conduct Policy, Commissioner Goodell sought the views of four external advisors (see below) to assist him in evaluating potential violations. These experts range in experience from law enforcement, judicial and public service, and other specialized subject areas.
The advisors participated in a meeting on June 26, 2017 in New York City with Elliott, who was represented by his legal team and the NFL Players Association. The group also reviewed the league's investigative reports and materials, the expert medical reports, and multiple NFL Players Association submissions on Elliott's behalf.
In a letter to Elliott advising him of the decision, Todd Jones, the NFL's Special Counsel for Conduct, said these advisors "were of the view that there is substantial and persuasive evidence supporting a finding that [Elliott] engaged in physical violence against Ms. Thompson on multiple occasions during the week of July 16, 2016."
After reviewing the record, and having considered the views of the independent advisors, the commissioner determined that the credible evidence established that Elliott engaged in conduct that violated NFL policy.
Elliott may appeal this decision within three days. If he does not appeal, Elliott's suspension will begin September 2, the day of final roster reductions for NFL teams. He is eligible to participate in all preseason practices and games. Elliott will be eligible to return to the team's active roster on Monday, October 23 following the Cowboys' Sunday, October 22 game against the San Francisco 49ers.