The Seattle Seahawks did an admirable enough job of keeping Ezekiel Elliott from hurting them too much in his first game back from suspension, and they took motivation from an interesting source.
After being mauled a week earlier by Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley, the Seahawks knew that they had to keep Elliott from beating him. It looked like they were in trouble after a 51 yard first quarter, but buckled down to keep him at 97 yards and no touchdowns.
It turns out that Seahawks defenders had taken note of Eric Dickerson’s comments about Elliott going for a 200-yard game, and they didn’t like it much.
“He had that bet,” said linebacker Bobby Wagner, via Jori Epstein of SportsDay. “We wanted to make sure he didn’t win it.”
Cornerback Justin Coleman admitted that mimicking Elliott’s celebration in the Salvation Army kettle after a pick six on a pass that was intended for the running back wasn’t coincidental.
There was a lot of hype around Elliott’s return. It turns out it all had a side effect of giving the Seattle defense a lot of bulletin board material that they used to their advantage.
Ezekiel Elliott is back with the Dallas Cowboys this week, but he has been laser focused on his return for much longer than that.
When his suspension was reinstated by the NFL, Elliott jetted off to Mexico to focus on training and avoid the spotlight. He succeeded — in fact, a new report indicates he only left the country for a total of two days.
Exclusive details about Ezekiel Elliott’s 42 days in Cabo . He only left once to attend Thanksgiving at home with his family for 2 days and then was back to relative isolation at Diamante Resort 30 min from Cabo. He told his team he wanted the media to focus on Cowboys not him pic.twitter.com/ZVpuMphnS7
— Jane Slater (@SlaterNFL) December 18, 2017
We may well see video evidence of Elliott’s work, but he remained a peripheral figure during his suspension. Now he can once again embrace the spotlight.
Ezekiel Elliott is set to return from his six-game suspension next week, and it sounds like we are eventually going to get an inside look at exactly what went on in his life during his time away from football.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Elliott has spent the last six weeks training at Diamante Luxury Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. During that time, the star running back has been filming a full-length documentary.
#Cowboys RB Zeke Elliott returns from Cabo today after 6 weeks of intense training (pic included). A full-length documentary on his time away has been in the works, so you can see for yourself soon … And that #Bengals coach Marvin Lewis update we promised, too. pic.twitter.com/uynGN4PGoB
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 17, 2017
According to Rapoport, Elliott is in “terrific shape” and seems to have lost a little weight. He has also been meeting with mentors in addition to personal trainers so he can address some of the aspects in his life other than just football.
The Cowboys are still in the playoff hunt, but they basically need to win out in order to have a shot. They need to survive one more game without Elliott, but it will be a tough one on the road against the Raiders. If Dak Prescott can lead the team to another win, Elliott has already given us a bold prediction for his first game back.
In an interview with TMZ Sports this week, retired running back great Eric Dickerson said that he recently spoke to Elliott, who offered him a bold bet for his scheduled first game back against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 16.
“He said he’s going to get 200 yards in his return. I told him no,” said Dickerson. “The bet is — if he gets 200 yards, I have to give him one of my jerseys. It’s going to be one of my special ones I played in. If he doesn’t get 200 yards he has to give me one of his jerseys.”
The deck seems to be stacked against Elliott. His single game career-high in rushing yards so far is 159, and the Seattle front seven is still fearsome, despite injuries to several key members of their secondary this season. Still, don’t underestimate Elliott’s desire for revenge post-suspension a la Tom Brady.
Jerry Jones has reportedly threatened to sue the NFL’s six-owner compensation committee that has been tasked with negotiating Roger Gooodell’s extension, and that is apparently not the first time this year that the Dallas Cowboys owner has considered taking legal action against the league.
According to ESPN investigative reporters Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr., Jones was so angry over Goodell’s decision to suspend Ezekiel Elliott six games that he considered suing the league to have the ban overturned.
On Aug. 11, Goodell announced the six-game suspension of Elliott. Jones saw it as a “complete betrayal,” a source now says. “An overcorrection” by Goodell, Jones later called it publicly. Privately, Jones seethed to confidants that Goodell hadn’t studied the case’s many details, and he considered suing the NFL to get the suspension overturned. “Roger blew off his own investigator’s conclusion — it’s just patently unfair,” Jones told a confidant, a charge that a league source denies. Jones had turned on Goodell, perhaps for good.
Jones had said publicly that he was confident Elliott would not be suspended, and he expressed those beliefs privately as well. A lot of that had to do with the NFL’s own director of investigations, Kia Roberts, concluding that the woman who accused Elliott of domestic violence was not credible. Roberts recommended to Goodell that Elliott not be suspended based on the interviews she conducted.
After Jones spoke with Goodell about the case in May, he reportedly told people the commissioner assured him there would be no suspension and that Goodell would only recommend Elliott enter counseling and issue a statement. The NFL insists no such assurances were ever given.
It’s not a coincidence that Jones was said to be in support of Goodell getting an extension before Elliott was suspended. Since then, the Cowboys owner has done everything in his power to impede the contract negotiations, and one league executive told ESPN Jones has issued a very strong warning to Goodell.
“Jerry’s message to Roger was ‘I run this league. You better get with it,'” the exec said. “This is about power and control, not the contract. That’s all white noise.”
From the way it appears, most team owners are siding with Goodell over Jones. We have heard reports that Jones’ peers could consider taking drastic measures to silence him, but that seems unlikely. In many ways, the war has just begun.
Ezekiel Elliott’s legal battle with the NFL is over.
In a statement released by his agents, Elliott announced that his appeal against the NFL is being dropped and he will serve out the entirety of his six game suspension effective immediately.
Big news: #Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott is withdrawing his appeal, his agents Rocky Arceneaux and Frank Salzano tell me. Elliott will serve his full 6-game suspension. The statement: pic.twitter.com/BV3jPyX4ap
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 15, 2017
Timing almost certainly plays a factor. By ending his appeal now, Elliott will be able to return Dec. 24 against the Seattle Seahawks, which would also mean that, should the Cowboys make the playoffs, he’d be back in time and get two regular season games under his belt to prepare himself.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter also noted that, by the time Elliott’s pending legal matters were resolved, he’d have served most, if not all, of the suspension anyway.
Ezekiel Elliott withdrew his appeal because, legally speaking, the case was unlikely to be resolved before the six games were served. So now he will take them and return Dec. 24.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 15, 2017
Elliott has explained previously why he had no intention of ending his legal proceedings to fight the suspension, but that has obviously changed. The realities of the situation have likely outweighed his desire to prove his innocence.
Ezekiel Elliott’s last legal option for the time being was exhausted earlier this week when the Second Circuit Court denied an emergency injunction that would have blocked his suspension. Now that there’s nothing else Elliott can do to have the six-game ban overturned, he has decided there is no reason for him to remain in the United States.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported on Sunday that Elliott is leaving the country to clear his head and train in an “undisclosed location” until he is eligible to return to the Dallas Cowboys.
Now officially suspended, #Cowboys RB Zeke Elliott is leaving the country for an undisclosed location to clear his head & train, sources say
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 12, 2017
Elliott’s next hearing won’t be until Dec. 1, so he is going to miss at least the next four games. He will in all likelihood miss the full six, and Rapoport noted that the star running back isn’t planning to return from his overseas training until late December.
Elliott recently explained why he has been so intent on trying to get his suspension overturned, but ultimately he didn’t stand much of a chance against the NFL. While the circumstances are far different, his case is not all that different from Tom Brady’s Deflategate case from a procedural standpoint. We all know how that turned out after a lengthy legal battle.