Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott will file an emergency appeal with the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Tuesday after a New York judge denied his request for a preliminary injunction against a six-game NFL suspension Monday night.
Attorney Daniel Wallach and Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported the NFL Players Association filed an emergency motion with Judge Katherine Polk Failla, which means the Cowboys playmaker could remain available while the appeal process plays out. Judge Failla denied the NFLPA's motion for a stay of her order, according to Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News, who added it's up to the 2nd circuit, which is where the NFL ultimately won the Deflategate case.
On Monday, Failla ruled "the NFLPA has failed to demonstrate a substantial question warranting the extraordinary remedy of injunctive relief or a balance of hardships that decidedly weighs in its favor," per ESPN.com.
Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated noted Failla cited the precedent of the NFL's legal victory over New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady regarding the Deflategate controversy following a similar extended court battle as a key reason for her decision.
"We have some veteran running backs," he told reporters Monday. "We have some depth at that position. It's not like we're just living this day and we don't think about the future at all. You have to do that.
"I think you build your team that way at all positions. If this guy is not able to play, who's your backup? Who can go in? We try to do that with our offensive line, receivers, running backs, all throughout our defense. That's the way you construct your team, and you're always thinking about those scenarios."
The NFL announced Elliott's suspension in August after a year-long investigation into allegations he assaulted Tiffany Thompson, a former girlfriend.
"The commissioner carefully considered the issues raised by the [NFLPA] on your behalf regarding witness credibility and alternative causation theories," an NFL letter to Elliott read. "However, in the commissioner's judgment, there has been no persuasive evidence presented on your behalf with respect to how Ms. Thompson's obvious injuries were incurred other than conjecture based on the presence of some of her bruising, which pre-dates your arrival in Columbus on July 16, 2016."
The running back responded with a statement on social media saying he "strongly" disagreed with the league's ruling.
"I am both surprised and disappointed by the NFL's decision today, and I strongly disagree with the league's findings," he wrote. "I recognize the distraction and disruption that all of this has caused my family, friends, teammates, the Dallas Cowboys organization as well as my fans—for that I am sincerely sorry. I admit that I am far from perfect, but I plan to continue to work very hard, on and off the field, to mature and earn the great opportunity that I have been given."
Elliott didn't face criminal charges in the case because of "conflicting and inconsistent information."
The latest appeal filing puts the running back's status in limbo again. While he'll likely be given clearance to keep playing until the next court hearing, his availability could be brought to an end at a moment's notice based on the 2nd Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals' decision.
In addition, Elliott is starting to play a dangerous game with the possible timing of the suspension. The Cowboys have nine games remaining in the regular season, which leaves limited time to serve a six-game ban and return for the playoffs if Dallas qualifies.
He should now be able to suit up for Sunday's home game against the Kansas City Chiefs at AT&T Stadium while waiting for the next stage of the appeal process.