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League fines Ezekiel Elliott for violating helmet rule

Philadelphia Eagles v Dallas Cowboys

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 09: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys kneels in the end zone before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on December 09, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

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Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott became the first offensive player penalized under the helmet rule this season. He became the second offensive player fined for lowering his helmet to initiate contact.

The NFL docked Elliott $26,739 for lowering his helmet to initiate contact, Todd Archer of ESPN reports.

Officials flagged Elliott for the hit on Eagles defensive back Corey Graham in last week’s game.

Elliott will appeal, per Archer.

Elliott is the fourth player the league has fined for violating the rule, with then-Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt the other offensive violator who saw his pay docked. Al Riveron, the NFL’s head of officiating, has used hits by Raiders running back Doug Martin and Patriots running back Sony Michel as examples of violations of the rule, but neither player was fined.

Officials have penalized only 15 players for violating the helmet rule this season. Falcons president Rich McKay, the chairman of the competition committee, said earlier this week the NFL has issued hundreds of warning letters, and he expects the number of penalties to rise next season.

It marks the second time in four weeks the NFL has fined Elliott.

The league fined Elliott $13,369 for unsportsmanlike conduct for donating $21 and Dak Prescott into the Salvation Army kettle in two touchdown celebrations against Washington on Thanksgiving Day.