Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliott will be eligible to play in the team’s season opener against the New York Giants, regardless of a ruling on his appeal, according to Mike Fisher with 105.3 The Fan.
Fisher, reporting from a Sherman, Texas courtroom where Elliott’s request for a restraining order against the NFL, wrote that U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant asked league representatives if Elliott would be eligible for Week 1 even if arbitrator Harold Henderson came to a decision.
The NFL, “hesitant to respond,” said yes, according to Fisher.
It had been rumored that Elliott would be available Sunday if a decision wasn’t made by 4 p.m. Tuesday. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported earlier Tuesday that the 4 p.m. deadline was only in regards to pay, not eligibility.
It wasn’t clear if the NFL’s answer on Elliott’s availability had to do with a 4 p.m. deadline. Before the Tuesday evening development, it was reported that, if even part of his suspension was upheld, Elliott would only be eligible to play if Judge Mazzant granted his restraining order.
Since a three-day appeal hearing last week, Elliott’s case has been a game of legal back-and-forth.
Elliott’s legal team filed a lawsuit Sept. 1, saying the disciplinary process was unfair and accusing the NFL of hiding critical information in this case that would clear Elliott’s name.
The NFL filed a motion to dismiss that lawsuit, saying it was premature and that a court can’t vacate a punishment that hadn’t been handed down.
According to Fisher’s report, the NFL said Elliott could still miss the Cowboys’ Week 2 game at Denver.