With the start of training camp less than two weeks away, the Dallas Cowboys may find out soon whether they will have running back Ezekiel Elliott for the entire 16-game regular season.
ESPN reported Friday that sources say Elliott is bracing for a “short” suspension from the NFL. Multiple sources told the network if could be for one or two games.
The Cowboys open the regular season at home against the New York Giants on Sept. 10 and face the Denver Broncos on the road Sept. 17.
The NFL has denied to ESPN that a decision on discipline in the case has been made and hasn’t said whether the investigation is complete into accusations of domestic violence made against Elliott by an ex-girlfriend in July 2016.
ESPN quoted a source as saying: “The NFL is looking to pin something on him.”
WFAA.com reported that Cowboys sources said the team doesn’t know if Elliott will be suspended, adding that the investigation has been “dragged out.”
Sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Elliott has received a report from the NFL on its findings and that Elliott is preparing a response to the league.
Elliott’s response is expected to be submitted sometime over the next week, ESPN reported.
Drafted fourth overall out of Ohio State in 2016, Elliott has maintained no wrongdoing in his statements to police. The Cowboys have stood by Elliott throughout.
He has remained under NFL investigation even after the Columbus, Ohio, city attorney’s office announced Sept. 6 that there wasn’t enough substance to pursue charges.
According to ESPN, the league’s personal conduct policy allows a player to be punished by the NFL even if he does not face legal punishment. A first-time violation of the policy carries a six-game suspension, but it also allows for a lesser penalty if mitigating factors are involved.
Tiffany Thompson filed a police report that included allegations of domestic violence by Elliott on five separate occasions from July 17 to July 22.
The Columbus city prosecutor declined to approve criminal charges for any of the allegations “primarily due to conflicting and inconsistent information across all incidents resulting in concern regarding the sufficiency of the evidence to support the filing of criminal charges.”
On the day of the Cowboys’ playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers in January, a report surfaced that the NFL had sent additional questions about the incident to Elliott within the past month.
“I do want closure,” Elliott said then.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told the media at a one-day owners meeting in Irving in December that the league had no timetable in finishing its investigation into the Elliott case.
“The best way to be fair to a player is to be thorough and to take your time and get it right,” Goodell said then. “... We have professionals that are working on this. We’re not putting a timetable on them. We want to make sure that they get it right and get all the facts, and when they reach a conclusion, we’ll all know about it.”
The Cowboys are no strangers to league suspensions and are braced for more.
This year, defensive end David Irving has been suspended for the first four games of 2017 for using a banned supplement. Cornerback Nolan Carroll was arrested in May on a charge of driving while intoxicated, which may be subject to suspension.
Linebacker Damien Wilson was arrested on charges of felony aggravated assault after being accused of hitting a woman with his car and pulling out a gun in a dispute over a parking spot after a Fourth of July celebration in Frisco.
This story includes material from Star-Telegram archives.