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Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Seeks Restraining Order to Get Back on the Field

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Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys has yet to miss any games because of his six-game suspension, but he is currently barred from participating in any team activities.

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Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

Another chapter in the Ezekiel Elliott suspension saga is likely to be written today, with a federal district court in New York expected to hear arguments on a request for a temporary restraining order that would allow him to rejoin the Cowboys.

The six-game suspension, which Elliott received after a yearlong investigation into a domestic violence allegation, has proved to be a particularly contentious issue between the N.F.L. and the league’s players’ association. Both sides have won legal victories, but the league was the latest to come out on top when a federal appeals court last Thursday lifted an injunction that had blocked the suspension from going into effect.

With the Cowboys off last week, the players’ association took its time preparing a strategy to get Elliott reinstated. But with Dallas now preparing for a Sunday game against the San Francisco 49ers, and Elliott currently barred from participating in any team activities, they now face a ticking clock before the suspension goes from theory to reality.

The request for a restraining order, as expected, was filed to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

The six-game suspension, which is the baseline suspension for a first-time domestic violence offender, was issued as a result of accusations made by a former girlfriend of Elliott’s in July of 2016. Elliott was not arrested or charged by prosecutors, but the N.F.L. used statements by a former girlfriend of Elliott’s, along with photos of injuries he is accused of inflicting upon her, to justify the suspension.

Elliott’s appeal of the suspension rests on the belief that the investigation and appeal were unfair to him. A federal judge in Texas agreed with that notion, issuing an injunction that blocked the suspension from starting.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit threw out that injunction last week in a 2-1 ruling, saying that the lawsuit filed by the player’s association on Elliott’s behalf was “premature” because all of the procedures available under the league’s collective bargaining agreement had yet to be exhausted. The court also believed the district court lacked proper jurisdiction in the case.

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