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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 1:00 am

NFL appeals ruling allowing Elliott to play

SCHUYLER DIXON | Associated Press

The NFL is moving quickly in hopes of reversing a federal judge's decision that blocked the league's six-game suspension of Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott over a domestic violence case in Ohio.

The league Monday asked the judge who ruled in Elliott's favor to stop the preliminary injunction that cleared last year's NFL rushing leader to play while the case is in court. A notice of appeal was also filed with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.

The NFL's latest filings came about 12 hours after Elliott rushed for 104 yards in the Cowboys' 19-3 win over the New York Giants at home Sunday night.

“Just relieved from the fact that I finally get a fair trial,” Elliott said after the game in his first public comments since before the Cowboys reported for training camp in July. “I finally get a chance to prove my innocence. And I'm just happy I'm able to be with these guys for as long as it's permitted and just not having to miss time and not being away from them.”

The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell last month, and attorneys with the NFL Players' Association contended that Elliott didn't get a fair hearing in an appeal that was denied.

Elliott had already been cleared to play in the season opener when U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant granted a temporary restraining order and injunction blocking the suspension Friday.

If Mazzant denies the emergency request to put his own ruling on hold pending further hearings, the NFL could make a similar argument to the appeals court in hopes of getting a hearing within days.

Without an NFL win on an emergency request in either court, the timeline could mean that Elliott is clear to play his entire second season after he led the league in rushing as a rookie.

Elliott was suspended by Goodell in August after the league concluded he had several physical confrontations last summer with Tiffany Thompson, a former girlfriend.

Prosecutors in Columbus, Ohio, decided about a year ago not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, citing conflicting evidence.

The NFL has argued that it acted within the parameters of a labor agreement that gives Goodell broad authority to suspend players.