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Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension reinstated again, will not play Sunday

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USA Today Sports Images

Ezekiel Elliott's six-game suspension reinstated again, will not play Sunday

NEW YORK -- Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott's half-season run from his six-game suspension ended Thursday when a federal appeals court refused to let him play while it considers his appeal.

A bespectacled Elliott in a suit and tie sat directly in front of a three-judge panel that considered a request from the NFL Players Association that he be allowed to play. But the court issued an order in less than an hour disqualifying him from Sunday's game at Atlanta. It appears he'll miss all of November's games since the court set a Dec. 1 hearing for oral arguments on the merits of the union's appeal.

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The suspension was ordered in August as discipline after the league investigated allegations he used force against his girlfriend in the summer of 2016. Elliott vehemently denied the allegations as recently as last week, saying he was not an abuser.

A federal appeals court last month tossed out his court challenge in Texas, but the league's request for a New York court to affirm that it had acted properly led a Manhattan judge to rule last month that Elliott must begin his suspension. After the union appealed, the lower-court decision was temporarily stayed, allowing Elliott to play last Sunday.

By Thursday's ruling, Elliott had already left the courthouse without speaking to reporters, though he shook the hand of a person who shouted that he was a "huge fan" as Elliott raced down steps to a sport utility vehicle.

Although the league won the battle, the appeals judges took a few shots at the NFL for its handling of the suspension of a 22-year-old athlete who will be sidelined while he's second in the league with 783 yards rushing and tied for the league lead with seven rushing touchdowns.

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Circuit Judge Dennis Jacobs told Paul Clement, the NFL's lawyer, that he found it odd that the issue was "such a frantic emergency that it can't wait another couple months."

"This is not just about Elliott and the Cowboys," Clement responded, noting that 100 players across the league had been suspended for a total of 500 games over the last two seasons.

"Unfortunately, discipline is a fact of life in the NFL," the lawyer said. "They all have an interest in seeing the same basic rules applied to them."

Clement said it was important that players not be able to "game the system" by using the courts to delay suspensions until it is convenient for them or their teams.

Still, he noted, Elliott would start his suspension as the Cowboys enter the "easy part" of their schedule.

"This is the ideal time for him to serve the suspension," Clement said.

Attorney Andrew Tulumello, arguing for the union, urged the 2nd Circuit to let Elliott play, saying missing games was irreparable harm and the union deserved additional time "to prove these events did not occur."

The NFL did not comment on the court's order, though it affirmed that the suspension was in place.

Elliott's attorneys did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Elliott arrived at the hearing just minutes before it began. He was smiling and greeting his lawyers before he moved his chair to face the judges more directly.

Elliott had received three different legal reprieves as he played the season's first eight games.

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Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

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USA TODAY Sports

Redskins' Josh Norman earns Week 10 NFLPA community MVP

Redskins' Josh Norman is using his platform as a professional football player to help those in need, and this week it earned him NFLPA's community MVP.

The cornerback has been raising funds for youth enrichment programs in the D.C. area, as well as starting a campaign to help those affected in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria. 

Norman's foundation, Starz24, provides backpacks and school supplies for children in need and creates initiatives for students at Jefferson Middle School Academy in D.C.. He recently raised almost $100,000 for Starz24's Imagination Team Rooms, a STEM-based "makerspaces" that will be placed in several inner city middle and high schools. 

Then, when Puerto Rico was devastated by Hurricane Maria back in September, Norman started a social media campaign to help those affected. The campaign brought in $150,000. Norman also donated $100,000 of his own with part of the money going to the Boys & Girls clubs in Puerto Rico.

I look at it as I’m on this earth to help people and help them be the best that they can be,” Norman said. “I have the means to do so. I’m going to do that.

Every week during the regular season, the NFLPA selects a NFL player who is making a difference in their community. They are going to be making a $10,000 contribution to his foundation or a charity of his choice in addition to an in-kind donation on behalf of their supporting partner, Delta Private Jets.

I am so honored to be recognized by the NFLPA for my work in the community,” Norman said. “All of this work is bigger than football. I want to make an impact in the lives of children who need it most and to help develop those children to help change the future.

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Week 11 Redskins at Saints: Getting desperate against the surging Saints

Week 11 Redskins at Saints: Getting desperate against the surging Saints

Though the Redskins sit just a game below .500, things are getting desperate if Washington wants to make the playoffs. Winning in New Orleans is hard, but it's a necessary evil for a Wild Card spot. 

The Saints have won seven straight. Seriously, the Saints are on a longer win-streak than the Redskins have wins. New Orleans hasn't lost since the Nats were still a viable option to win the 2017 World Series. 

It's no fluke either. For years now Drew Brees and the Saints offense has been productive, but this year, the New Orleans defense is more than capable. 

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Winning on Sunday will be a tall order for the Redskins, but should they accomplish the task, here are three areas to watch:

  1. Wrong side - At 4-5, the Redskins are on the wrong side of the ledger when it comes to the playoff picture. While in past years, some teams could sneak into the final Wild Card spot at nine wins, that does not appear to be the case in 2017. Six teams are ahead of the Redskins in the Wild Card chase, and all of those teams have at least five wins. Yes, Washington has an advantageous final six games of the schedule, but with a loss in New Orleans, getting to 10 wins would require the Redskins to run the table down the stretch. That leaves no margin for error for a team with a recent, and not so recent, history of inconsistent play. 
  2. Run for your life - The Saints have not one, but two running backs averaging more than 4.5 yards-per-carry. Mark Ingram is the bell cow for this team, and he has rushed for 614 yards in seven starts. Rookie Alvin Kamara has another 417 yards on the ground. The entire Redskins offense has rushed for 870 yards. Since the Saints traded Adrian Peterson after Week 4, New Orleans has not had less than 100 yards rushing. Last week in Buffalo, the Saints posted 298 yards on the ground. In their last four games, the Redskins have rushed for 256 yards. The Redskins defense has given up at least 100 yards on the ground in each of their last four games. 
  3. So you're saying... - There is a chance. Don't count out the Redskins yet. Remember, this team won games both in Seattle and in Los Angeles, against two of the best teams in the NFC. Further, the Saints have been committing plenty of turnovers, but largely, their opponents haven't made them pay. (Listen to Saints analyst Deuce McAllister in the video above). If the Redskins can run the ball at a decent rate, Kirk Cousins protects the ball and gets the offense into the end zone, Washington could pull off another road upset. Winning eight games in a row is very hard in the NFL.

Quote of the Week: "We know that we don’t have a lot of margin for error right now. We have to go in there and play our best football. Knowing we’ve won on the road is great. We’ve played well on the road, which is great, but going out and doing it again is a different story," Redskins coach Jay Gruden on the team's success away from FedEx Field this season.

 RELATED: WEEK 10 NFL POWER RANKINGS

News & Notes

  • Vernon Davis needs three TD catches to pass former Redskins great Jerry Smith for sixth on the list of career touchdown receptions by a tight end in NFL history.
  • Kirk Cousins ranks sixth among NFL quarterbacks with three rushing touchdowns. Cousins ranks 12th among QBs with 130 rush yards.
  • With 1.5 sacks, Ryan Kerrigan  will join join Jared Allen, Derrick Thomas, DeMarcus Ware and Reggie White as the only players in NFL history to record 7.5 sacks in each of the first seven seasons of a career since the NFL adopted sacks as an official statistic in 1982.
  • The Redskins hold a 9-3 all-time record playing in the Superdome. 
  • Zach Brown is first in the NFL and the NFC in tackles (96).
  • Chris Thompson is first in the NFL and the NFC in receiving yards amongst running backs (494).

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